Risotto-stuffed Morel with Panko Crust
This dish looks beautiful and a little complicated, but seriously, it could not be easier to make. All it takes is a little advance preparation and a few key ingredients.
If you make your risotto the night before (as I did), you can assemble these delicious stuffed morels in a few minutes.
Perfect as an appetizer or serve with a crisp salad for an elegant light luncheon!
Soak the morels in warm water for 15 - 20 minutes or until fully rehydrated and pliable. Rinse them gently under cool running water to remove any residual grit. Drain and pat dry.
Gently fill each morel with risotto, taking care not to tear the wall of the mushroom. Slice the cheese into 4 little-finger size sticks. Carefully poke one piece of the cheese into the center of each stuffed morel. (You can use any firm cheese you like, but the smokiness of the cheddar goes beautifully with the woodsy flavor of the morels.)
Roll each morel in the beaten egg and then in the panko, patting more panko on top until each one is well covered. Use additional panko if necessary.
When each morel is completely coated, place them in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes. The morels may remain refrigerated for up to two hours before finishing them.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy non-stick pan over medium high heat. Place the stuffed morels in the hot oil - do not move them until they have begun to brown or the crust might peel off. When the first side is golden brown, shake the pan slightly to loosen them and then roll each morel on its side. Repeat until all sides are well browned.
Serves 2 - 4