Seafood & Mushroom Bisque

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By Isabelle Kirouac & Willoughby Arevalo

Serves 3-4 people.

This recipe features lion’s mane and oyster mushrooms, both of which have pleasant seafood-like qualities and can be found wild or cultivated. You can also use other seafood-like mushrooms, such as shrimp Russula, grisette, lobster mushroom, shaggy mane, Boletus stems cross-cut like scallops, cauliflower mushroom, edible coral mushrooms, shimeji, or fried chicken mushroom. While we’ve used whole scallops and ling cod collars, you could use any combination of shellfish and firm white fish. Ideally use at least two types of mushrooms and at least two kinds of seafood. Or, you can omit the seafood and go all mushroom, with totally satisfying results. If you can’t find all the herbs, just use what you’ve got.

Stock:

1 ling cod collar, about 1 lb (or other meaty white fish bones or heads, crustacean shells, etc)
Scraps, stems, peels and trimmings from all the herbs, vegetables and mushrooms used in the soup

Soup:

3 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 shallots, sliced
1 big carrot, peeled and sliced
2 ribs celery, trimmed and chopped
1 small rib lovage, sliced thinly
Salt and pepper
½ lb oyster mushrooms, tough stems trimmed, torn or sliced
1-3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
Small handful tender wild fennel stems, peeled and chopped (reserve tender fronds for garnish), or sub cultivated fennel bulb, diced, about ¼-½ cup
3 medium potatoes (such as sieglinde or Yukon gold), peeled and diced
¾ cup dry white wine
3 cups tomato puree
About 3 cups of fish/seafood stock, or sub bottled clam juice
¾ – 1 gram saffron
½ lb lion’s mane or bear’s head mushroom, torn into bite sized chunks
Zest of ¼ orange (preferably organic)
½ cup parsley, chopped
½ cup chives, chopped, plus flowers for garnish
12 whole, frozen scallops (not thawed), in the shell
Poached fish meat picked from the collar

To make the stock, cut the fish collar in half, place it and all the scraps in a stock pot, and cover with cold water. Place uncovered on medium heat. When the pot starts steaming and the stock is smiling but not simmering, turn down the heat to low to poach the fish. Remove the fish collar as soon as it starts to fall apart, after about 7 minutes. Pick the meat off the bones, returning the bones and fins to the pot, and reserving the meat. Continue cooking the stock at a low simmer for about 30 minutes, then strain.

Heat a heavy-bottomed soup pot on medium high heat. Add the olive oil, shallots, carrot, celery, lovage, and some salt; sauté 3 minutes. Add half the oyster mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned, about 3 more minutes. Add the garlic, and fennel and cook another 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, wine, tomato puree, stock, saffron, and some more salt. Simmer until the potatoes are about half-cooked, about 10 minutes. Give a few zips with an immersion blender to thicken the soup a bit, keeping most of the chunks intact. Add the rest of the mushrooms, the orange zest, a good grind of black pepper, a bit more salt, most of the parsley and chives, and cook another 10 minutes, until the potatoes are just done. Stir in the scallops and cook until they start to open, about 5 minutes. Stir in the precooked fish and off the heat. Serve with scallops on top, garnish with remaining chives, parsley, fennel fronds and chive blossoms, and accompany with the rest of the wine and some warm, crusty sourdough bread. You can use a scallop shell as a spoon if you’re so inclined.

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