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Morel Mushrooms And Asparagus With Mousseline Sauce

ingredients

24 fresh or dried soaked morel mushrooms (morchella elata or morchella esculenta)
16 large asparagus spears
scant 1 oz (20 g) butter
3 tbsp dry white wine
7 fl oz (200 ml) mousseline sauce
salt
Cauliflower Timbale or poached fillets of white fish

method

1. If you feel uncertain about gathering your own morels (the edible type is readily distinguishable from the false morel which should not be eaten), simply buy dried ones and soak them in warm water for 20 - 30 minutes before using.

2. Swish them about in the soaking water and rinse briefly to make sure that every grain of grit has been extracted from their pocketed heads. Fresh morels have more flavour and should be brushed meticulously with a soft, dry brush, not washed. This recipe can also be prepared with ordinary field mushrooms or fresh cultivated mushrooms.

3. Prepare the asparagus and boil in salted water for 12 minutes, or steam, until tender. Drain and keep hot.

4. Trim and prepare the mushrooms. Separate the stalks from the heads or caps, cut the stalks into thick sections and cut the caps into quarters. Cook gently in the butter for about 8 minutes, sprinkling with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle the wine over them and continue cooking for a minute or two, or until they are tender. Keep hot while making the mousseline sauce.

5. Work quickly once this is ready: arrange the asparagus spears on heated plates so that 2 pairs of spears bisect one another, distribute the morels in the 4 empty sections left on each plate by this arrangement and spoon in a little sauce.

6. Besides being a good vegetable accompaniment, this dish also makes a very good starter served on its own.

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