The first morels of the season have arrived! My Heaven it's been a long winter, and while spring weather struggles to poke it's head out from behind Mr. Winter's frosty coat, the foods of spring have begun to arrive. Last week we introduced ramps, those lovely first delicate shoots of spring onions that signal the beginning of the season of plenty. We continue to serve them this week, both pickled and fresh with pureed leeks and some lovely local scallops.
Today the first morels of the season arrived. The finest expression of morel I ever had was at my first visit to the famed Alain Ducasse restaurant in Paris. This was more than 16 years ago, long before Ducasse came to New York, even before he relocated to the Plaza Athénée Hotel.
It was my first visit to a Michelin 3-star restaurant. Ducasse was located Le Parc – Sofitel Demeure Hôtels. It was a wondrous lunch and it cost a month's pay, but I learned so much. Some of the dishes were very complex. I expected that. What I did not expect was that some were exceedingly simple presentations of nature's complex and wonderful tasting foods. The simplest of all was a bowl of morels, roasted perfectly and served with an optional finherb cream. I was floored. It was both decadent and simple? Was it supposed to be eaten on its own or spooned over other things I asked. The waiter answered, "Oui." I got it. It was simple and it was perfect. That dish has inspired a large part of what we do and what we care about.
As of today, and as long as we can get good morels, we will serve a bowl of morels with finherb cream optional. Welcome to spring my friends.