Lobster Mushroom Bisque
Behold the mysterious Lobster Mushroom. I came across these red-orange beauties a few months ago and was excited to learn more about them.
The lobster mushroom is not a mushroom at all, but a parasitic mold called Hypomyces lactifluorum, that attacks other mushrooms and envelopes them completely, altering their appearance. They end up looking red, like cooked lobster, and lumpy and irregular in shape. The mushrooms that the mold attaches itself to are predominantly lactarius and russula mushrooms.
The funny part is that the tranformation makes the mushrooms taste better than they would before. They only have a slight flavor and aroma of shellfish/crustaceans fresh, but this intensifies when they’re dried.
Now I was never a fan of lobster or seafood in general before I went plant-based, but I was curious to try these beauties in a vegan “lobster bisque” recipe. While I can’t speak to the similarity of the mushrooms to actual lobster, I can say that this soup is hearty, warming and full of smoky flavor. I am definitely adding it to my winter soup rotation!
1 cup cashews, soaked
5 cups water
1 Tbsp Kelp powder
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Shallot, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6oz can tomato paste
2 cups dried lobster mushrooms, soaked
1/2 cup white wine vinegar + 1/2 cup water (or substitute 1 cup White Wine)
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
Soak cashews in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain. Add to a high-speed blender with 1 cup water, kelp powder, and cornstarch. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides. Set aside.
In a small bowl, soak the lobster mushrooms in cold water for a few minutes until soft. Rinse and drain.
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add shallot, garlic, and carrot, cooking for 3-4 minutes until tender.
Add the tomato paste and mix into the veggies. Then add the remaining 4 cups water, white vinegar/water mixture, cashew cream mixture, soaked mushrooms and seasonings. Bring to a soft boil, then reduce to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, then add half of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the blended soup back to the pot and stir to combine.
Serve with a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Enjoy!