Escargot, Morels & Ramps Soup

Several soupyears ago, Ellen and I had escargot and morel soup at a restaurant in Indianapolis – can’t remember the name of the establishment. Since then, I’ve been searching for a recipe. I seemed to remember it being the consistency of oyster stew, but all I found were cream soup recipes. Maybe that’s what we had.

So, this weekend I took the base for a cream soup and added my own touches, substituting morel rehydration water for some of the chicken stock, and ramp bulbs with their lower stem for garlic & scallions, and then added ramp powder. It turned out excellent, but it’s vey rich and filling, and makes a meal in itself. I served four 8 oz. SoupRampsservings - two for supper and two for lunch the next day. Realistically, with a meal, figure six 5-ounce servings

Note: I save my dried morel stems and grind them into flakes for later use. You make ramp powder by drying leaves in a dehydrator and then grind them in a small coffee grinder I usually use someone else’s grinder, like the coffee room grinder at work :-)
I’ll make it again in the spring with fresh ramps, morel water ( from rehydrated morels) that I will freeze this winter, and then use fresh morels for the recipe.

Ingredients
2 cups chicken stock
15 dried morels, stems removed, rehydrated with 2 1/4 cups warm water for 30 min
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup whole milk
handful of ramps, chopped ( I used 8 small ones, frozen this spring, with tops removed)
ramp powder
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 6-oz can escargot, drained and halved (2 cans if you like)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
6 tsp butter, divided 4 & 2
sea salt and white pepper

Directions
Chop morels into pieces same size as escargot.
Combine morel water, chicken stock, onions and morels in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

In another saucepan, melt four tablespoons butter over medium heat gradually stirring in the flour until smooth.  Remove from heat and gradually stir in the milk and cream.  Return to medium heat and cook stirring constantly, until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir mushroom- stock into sauce.

In a small pan, heat the remaining two tablespoons butter and add escargot, ramps, parsley; sauté for 2 minutes.  Add to soup along with wine.
Adjust the “garlicness” by with garlic salt. Then add salt, pepper, and ramp powder to taste.

 

Grilling Oysters !!

Oysters061114A 2-week dry spell has stunted the chanterelle growth around here. However, a 2-inch rain on Wednesday (2 days ago) yielded a nice treat. There is an “oyster log” that I have been by at least three times this year and was always a day late and a dollar short. Today was different. I’ve got about 20 lbs for the Farmers Market tomorrow.

The nice thing about this find is that there was a nice variety of sizes from tiny to saucer-sized that are great for grilling, and they were all beautiful and fresh – very few beetles, if any. Lather them in olive oil, sprinkle on garlic salt and one’s favorite spice mix. Mine is Cajun seasoning. Gonna be nice tonight!!

I also got a fresh Chicken of the Woods this week. I broke off the tips for eating, and that yielded three pounds. Hopefully some of the chanterelle patches that haven’t produced yet will respond to this rain  next week.

Lobster Tails and Lobster Mushroom Risotto

Somewhere along the way this Spring, Ellen came home with four frozen lobster tails which gave me the opportunity to make this dish that I had been meaning to try for sometime. I had several packs of lobster mushrooms (dry sautéed and frozen) left from last season, so this was as good a time as any. Warning: Makes a LOT of risotto!

LOBSTER TAILS AND LOBSTER MUSHROOM RISSOTO

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup butter
1 Tbs finely chopped garlic
1 Tbs finely chopped shallots
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
8 oz fresh lobster mushrooms (or equivalent frozen)
2 cups Arboro rice
1/4 cup sherry
5 cups fish stock, heated
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
4 lobster tails, cut in bite size pieces and lightly sautéed in butter/oil
1 Tbs chopped parsely

DIRECTIONS
In a large pan over medium to high heat, melt butter in oil. Add vegetables and mushrooms. Sauté until soft. Add rice until all of the rice is coated with butter.
Add sherry and cook until the wine has been almost all absorbed. Add enough stock to cover the rice and stir continuously to keep rice from sticking/burning.
As the stock is absorbed by the rice add stock 1/2 cup at a time to keep the rice covered with liquid.
Cook the rice about 20 minutes, making sure to stir. When the rice is tender, remove from heat and add the cheese, salt and pepper.
Garnish cooked risotto with lobster and chopped parsley.

Serves four or more (depends on side dish or entrée)