There used to be a restaurant named Mortimer's, in the space that is now Orsay, on Lexington Avenue and 75th Street in New York City. It was the kind of place frequented by "the ladies who lunch" and ruled with an iron fist by its owner Glenn Bernbaum. There really was nothing memorable to the restaurant,including the decor and the food, except as a place to see and be seen by those who made up cafe society at the time. I was not a frequent visitor, except for lunch once in awhile. Surprisingly, the prices were reasonable and it was fairly close to where I lived at the time. It was also the only place outside of France where I would find morels in cream sauce when they were in season.
With Mortimer's now gone and me living on a lake in Georgia, I buy them whenever I find them and enjoy them at home. March is the time for morels so be on the lookout for them in the supermarket or at places like Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca. If you can't find fresh ones, buy the dry ones and reconstitute them. They are just as good and they keep forever.
This is a delightful lunch for four with a salad or it can be served as a first course for a more formal lunch.
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 pound fresh morels, trimmed, washed well, and patted dry*
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Freshly ground white pepper
5 thin slices brioche or challah bread, crusts discarded, each slice cut into 4 triangles and toasted
Heat cream in a small saucepan until hot.
Heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté morels, stirring frequently, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the wine and reduce until almost all evaporizes. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in hot cream and reduce heat to low. Gently simmer, covered, stirring once, until morels are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.
Arrange 5 toasts on each of 4 plates and spoon morels and sauce on top. Serve immediately.
You can substitute 1 ounce small dried morels (1 1/3 cups) for the fresh. Soak dried morels in 2 1/2 cups warm water until softened, 10 to 30 minutes. Lift from soaking liquid, then rinse well and pat dry with paper towels. Pour soaking liquid through a paper-towel–lined sieve into a bowl. Add 1/2 cup soaking liquid to cream when heating (dried morels absorb more liquid than fresh).