On occasion, something leaves an impression so indelible that it lingers with you long after your initial encounter, resurfacing just often enough not to be forgotten. Chef Scott Spencer’s mushroom soup with truffle foam is one of those things. Earthy in its complexity and achingly aromatic, this soup is nirvana in a bowl. Or cappuccino cup, as it may be, because that is how Chef Spencer cleverly serves his fungi concoction.
My first rendezvous with this treasure was at a seven-course tasting menu for a friend’s birthday a few years ago. I’d suggested that the host use Chef Spencer and was delighted when his fare didn’t disappoint. We were blown away by each course, but none so much as the mushroom cappuccino. At first blush, I presumed that I was served a fancy morel-infused coffee drink that my taste buds were too plebeian to appreciate. Luckily, the only part of the dish involving cappuccino is the cup.
The soup is a perfect juxtaposition of heavy wooded bisque and light truffle froth. I immediately asked for the recipe, but was thwarted by the fact that Chef Spencer doesn’t use measurements. Though I had the ingredients, I was too afraid to come up with the amounts in order to recreate the dish.
As the weather recently turned from summer to fall, the memory of the delicious mushroom soup crept back to the forefront of my mind. After poring over cookbooks and food blogs I finally reconstructed the elusive recipe for a dinner party. The morning after my dinner, I awoke to three emails from guests requesting the recipe. It appears that I will no longer be the only one dreaming of this wildly mouth-watering bisque. xx tt
Recipe - serves 6
· 4 tablespoons olive oil
· 1 stick COLD butter
· 2 shallots bulbs
· 2 pounds mushrooms (any will work – I used button, shiitake, crimini, oyster, and portabella)
· 1 cup dry sherry
· 32 ounces chicken stock
· 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
· 3 cups half and half
· 1 teaspoon white pepper
· 2 teaspoons kosher salt
· 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
· ½ cup heavy whipping cream
· 2 tablespoons black truffle oil
· Wash and chop mushroom
· Dice shallots
· Add olive oil to a large stock pot over medium heat
· Place shallots in the pot and sauté for three minutes
· Add chopped mushrooms
· This is an integral part of the recipe – sauté the mushrooms until they have reduced to 2/3 their original size. Like the onions in french onion soup, cooking down the mushrooms gives the dish its complex rich flavor. It’s worth the extra time it takes. BUT make sure that the mushrooms don’t burn – add olive oil as needed.
· Once mushrooms have reduced, add sherry and let it simmer for 10 minutes
· Add chicken stock and tarragon, bring to a full boil
· Turn off heat
· Cut stick of butter into 8 pieces
· In batches, puree the bisque in a food processor (or use an emersion blender)
· While you are pureeing, add chunks of the cold butter
· Once you have pureed all of the bisque, strain it through a sieve into a large bowl
· Rinse out pot that you used to make the bisque base
· Transfer pureed bisque back into the pot and add half and half over medium heat
· Stir in salt and pepper
· Once bisque is warm enough to serve, add sherry vinegar and stir to combine
· Keep bisque over low heat while you prepare the froth
· Mix truffle oil and heavy whipping cream in a coffee mug and microwave for 40 seconds
· Using beaters, an electric milk frother, or an Aerolatte mix until frothed
· Serve bisque in cappuccino cups and top with truffle foam
t+tSTYLE: Take cue from the ultimate fashion alchemist, Marc Jacobs, and incorporate playful shroom-hued pieces into your wardrobe this season.
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