If you seek an approachable way to serve a visually stunning and appropriately named lobster fungus, then the lobster mushroom bisque has you covered.
This vegetarian-friendly and luxurious soup makes a great starter in smaller quantities. Or, like me, you can pour yourself a whole bowl of bisque, slice up some great bread and call it dinner. The best part is that my whole crew, even the fussy 13-year-old, slurped and dabbed their way through it, leaving 4 empty bowls in their wakes.
Where the Heck Do You Find Lobster Mushrooms?
There are a number of ways to pick these up fresh in the late Summer and through Fall, especially in the Pacific Northwest or New England.
I got my lobster mushrooms from a French fungus vendor at my local farmer’s market in Ashland, OR. He’s a passionate, chatty guy who left me with ideas for lobster mushroom tempura and then this amazing french truffle trick. The lobster mushroom bisque, however, was my own idea.
You can also check your local specialty foods store. The fancy store in my small town had some fresh lobster mushrooms in stock for $30 per pound, which was more than I paid from the French guy – although mine were definitely past their prime. I’ve read that the dried lobster mushrooms have a more intense flavor, so you could try those as well.
Finally, if you live in the Pacific Northwest or New England you can forage for them.
Working To Preserve the Subtle Lobster Mushroom Flavor
When I got these home I started to ponder them. I smelled them. I cut off a few pieces and tasted them. They definitely had a seafood-like aroma but the taste was very subtle.
I’ve cooked a chanterelle mushroom bisque before and what I learned from it was to refrain from using a lot of herbs or strong seasonings in it. The lobster mushrooms seemed like they would have the same issues. Their distinct perfume and taste would be easily consumed by tarragon or even thyme.
I decided to limit the bisque flavor palette to the basic mirepoix of onion, celery, and carrot, with a single clove of garlic and a small amount of ground ginger. Along with a low-sodium chicken broth, these would provide a relatively neutral base that I hoped would not overpower the delicate lobster mushroom flavor.
These Don’t Act Like Button Mushrooms
I found by sauteing a few slices in butter that they quickly turned rubbery. They had good flavor but the texture just was not there. Button and porcini mushrooms tend to get firm but not rubbery when they are cooked.
In order to get the most of out of the lobster mushrooms, I chopped them pretty finely, into 1/4-inch or smaller pieces. I wanted them to saute and release their juices quickly and also wanted to keep the rubbery texture to a minimum.
I cooked the diced mushroom and veggies in some butter and then deglazed with some dry white wine. Chicken broth and a little tomato paste – for acid and color – finish the base stock.
Once this mixture had time to cook, I blended everything with an immersion blender, added the cream, brought it back to a low simmer then tasted and seasoned it with salt and black pepper. This is a dish I would rather season with white pepper, but I was out!
The Final Verdict on Lobster Mushroom Bisque
Although subtle, the seafoody aroma and taste of the lobster mushrooms did come through and made for a really luxurious bowl of dinner. In fact, then next time I make it I’m going to use about twice as many mushrooms if I can afford them.
We chose to eat this with a loaf of good french bread, sliced with a little butter on it and dipped into the bisque. I could eat this for days and days.
If you give it a try, let me know what you think.
Lobster Mushroom Bisque
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 5-6 whole Lobster mushrooms, finely diced - this should be about 2-3 cups, but feel free to use more. Each can be about the size of the palm of your hand. Use more if you have them!
- ½ cup Onion, diced
- ½ cup Celery, diced
- ½ cup Carrot, diced
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 tsp Ginger, fresh grated Optional
- ½ cup Dry white wine
- 32 oz Chicken broth I use low sodium so I can season later in the cooking
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 1 loaf Good french bread or baguette
- Heat heavy bottom stock pot on stove to medium high
- Melt 2 tbsp butter until it stops foaming
- Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, ginger and lobster mushrooms to pot and turn heat down to medium. Saute about 10 minutes, stirring frequently so the onions and garlic do not burn.
- Turn heat back up to medium high and add white wine. Bring it to a boil and cook it about a minute.
- Add chicken broth and tomato paste, stir to combine and bring back to a boil then turn down to low, cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Stir a couple of times to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Turn off heat and use an immersion blender and blend mixture until relative smooth. Or, carefully pour mixture into blender and blend until smooth (you may need to do 2-3 batches).
- Optional - strain blended mixture - I don't mind some of the grainier mince but you might.
- In pot, on medium heat, bring blended mixture back to boil and add cream. Bring it to gentle simmer.
- Serve in bowls with bread and butter. Dip bread in bowl until you are stuffed.