Every spring we would eagerly anticipate the phone call. We never knew when it was coming. Sometimes it came in April, sometimes in May, and sometimes in June. Grandma would call and tell my Dad there was a package coming for us bus parcel express and that he had better be there to meet it . My Dad would shout, "Grandma's sending morels!" The entire day was then spent in morel anticipation. Dad would take one of the kids out to buy the finest steaks money could buy, and to be at the bus station to get the morels when they arrived. No matter what time of the day it was, he'd then rush home and prepare a to-die-for steak and morel feast. When my Grandma got a little older and could no longer go hunting for morels, the roles shifted. Dad took the whole family out searching for morels every spring. (That's when fiddle heads, which are found in the forest at the same time as morels, were added to the morel feast.) Sometimes we were successful, and sometimes we were not; but when we were fortunate enough to find the elusive treats, Dad always packaged some on ice and bus parcel expressed them to Grandma. This recipe melds the succulent, addictive flavour of morels with the scent of springtime in the forest. It is a Canadian gastronomic delight!
MAIN DISH (Spring Forest Skewers) Marinade: Break garlic bulb into cloves. Peel cloves and use a garlic press to crush them. Put crushed garlic in a bowl. Add wine and stir. Slice steaks thinly using a filet knife. Place steak slices in a shallow glass pan. Pour wine mixture over meat. Cover pan with aluminum foil, and marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour. This step can be done up to 24 hours ahead of time. Rice: Start cooking rice 70 minutes before dinner is to be served. Add salt to water in a large pot. Bring water to a boil and add wild rice. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes or until kernels just split open. Remove from heat and use the pot lid to drain any excess water from the rice.. Skewers: While wild rice is cooking, clean fiddleheads and morels. Place fiddleheads in a strainer and use cold tap water on the spray setting to rinse. Shake off excess water, then blot dry on paper towels. Do the same for the morels. Slice morels in quarters lengthwise. Remove steak slices from refrigerator. Pour off marinade and set aside in a bowl. Wrap a morel slice in a steak slice and skewer together. Next add a fiddlehead to the skewer. Repeat this pattern--steak-wrapped morel, fiddlehead, steak-wrapped morel, fiddlehead, etc.--until skewer is full. Fill each skewer in this manner. When all skewers are full, melt 1/2 c. butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Place skewers in skillet and saute uncovered until morels and steak begin to brown, turning frequently to ensure even heating. Add extra butter to skillet one teaspoon at a time as needed to ensure bottom of pan stays moist. When browned, remove skewers from pan. To serve: Add leftover marinade to steak and morel drippings in bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil to make 'morel au jus.' Spoon a serving of wild rice onto each person's plate. Place 2 skewers on top of each serving of rice. Drizzle with 'morel au jus.' Serve hot and savour the flavour! SIDE DISH (Cranberry Yams) Preheat oven to 350F. Rinse yams under the tap, and place in a shallow baking dish in middle rack of oven. Bake for 1 hour or until yams are soft when skin is pushed gently with a fork. While yams are baking, place cranberries in a medium saucepan. Add maple syrup and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat stirring gently until cranberries soften and skins break. Mix cornstarch with cold water in a liquid measuring cup with a spout. Pour slowly into cranberry mixture, stirring rapidly, until mixture thickens. Set aside. When yams are cooked, remove from oven and place one on each person's plate. Use a paring knife to slice each yam open down the center. Use a tablespoon to scoop some of the flesh from the center of each yam, and mound it on the sides, leaving an indentation in the middle. Fill the indentations with cranberry mixture. Serve hot. NOTE: If cooking both main dish and side dish, start yams baking before beginning to cook rice, and cook cranberry mixture while skewers are browning.