Grilled Morels With Fontina On Toast

Morel Toast

Welcome to SAVEUR‘s weekly column on cooking local produce according to our test kitchen manager, Fatima Khawaja† Here you’ll find creative, easy meal ideas plus plenty of cooking advice, like what to do with that huge amount of zucchini or how to store delicate heirloom tomatoes. Every week, Fatima goes to the farmers market and picks a high-season ingredient to explore in depth. Follow along and you’ll learn how to turn the season’s bounty into simple, plant-based meals that can be on the table in under an hour.

Finding morels at the farmers market is like winning the lottery. One early morning you come across them, but the next day they are all gone. Or maybe they don’t show up at all one year, but the next year they’ve been there for weeks. That’s because these finicky, rare mushrooms cannot be grown – they only occur in the wild and are so dependent on the climate. The good news is that you can substitute any edible mushroom in recipes that call for morels.

When buying wild mushrooms, look for dry and undamaged mushrooms. Don’t be put off by the price per pound; mushrooms don’t weigh much, so a few ounces will go a long way. To prevent mold from forming, store them in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator (the freshness drawer with the humidity turned off is best) and plan to eat them within a few days or they will become slimy or shriveled. If the stems are too tough for your taste (shiitake stems are notoriously tough), freeze them along with any garnishes and add them to your next batch of beef or vegetable stock.

When I’m cooking for my family (and not recipe testing), I like to keep it simple – I’m a new mom after all. These days, that means lots of crusty bread (grilled on my little inspector-approved electric grill) topped with cheese and something quickly cooked. A few country morels, placed briefly on the hot grates, turn this simple dish into something special. If you don’t have a grill, use your oven’s grill, or even a grill pan to toast the bread; Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms directly in the chives-shallot butter until soft.

Grilled Morels With Fontina On Toast

Snack or meal, these crispy toasts are packed with earthy mushrooms, tart fontina and tangy vinegar.

Yield: serves 2


30 minutes


  • ¼ cups salted butter, softened, divided

  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped chives

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ cups olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons. sherry vinegar

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped (3 tbsp.)

  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped (2 tsp.)

  • 4 oz. fresh morels (1½ cups)

  • Two ½–1 inch thick slices of country bread

  • 2 oz. thinly sliced ​​fontina cheese

  • Flaky sea salt, to taste


  1. Set a grill to medium high. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil and sherry vinegar. Put aside.

  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, add the butter. Once the butter is melted and bubbly, add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the chives and cook for another minute. Season with freshly ground black pepper and remove from heat.

  3. Stick the morels on a skewer and when the grill is hot, grease the grids with oil and add the morels, cooking just to get smokey and slightly charred, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and transfer to a cutting board. Remove the mushrooms from the skewer, chop roughly and add to the butter mixture, stirring well.

  4. Use a pastry brush to brush the remaining olive oil on both sides of the two slices of bread, or drizzle over the oil. Toast the bread slices on the grill until toasted and you have grill marks, about 2 minutes on each side, then place on the cutting board. Top the toasts with thinly sliced ​​fontina cheese and return to the grill, cover with a lid to melt the cheese, 30-60 seconds. Return the toast to the plate, sprinkle with the buttery morels and sprinkle with the vinegar dressing and maldon salt to taste.