Our first Farmer’s Market of the year was last Saturday and given the earliness of the season and the cool weather lately the selection of veggies was a bit thin. However, mushrooms were in abundance. No less than 4 vendors had various cultivated and wild-foraged ‘shrooms. I came home with King Oyster and Pink Oyster from a mushroom grower and some morels which can only come from someone who goes out into the woods to forage. While the oysters will be available throughout the summer, the morels have a short season (roughly mid-May to mid-June) and they come dearly – upwards of $40/pound (of course, if you know where to look in the woods, they’re free). At that price, you don’t want to waste or abuse them so most people prepare them by simply sauteing them in butter and serving them as a side dish or by adding a few to scramble eggs or an omelet.
I wanted to try something a little different (though we did have sauteed morels one night) so I looked around for a soup that would feature them and found a recipe for Mushroom/Tomato Soup which I tweaked to fit the ingredients at hand and my sense of what the soup should be.
I give you…
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C. roasted tomatoes (I used home made but canned tomatoes like Muir Glenn Fire Roasted would work fine)
1/2 C. yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C. bell pepper, chopped (I used red but any color would be fine)
1 can (15 oz.) beef broth
Water, as needed
5 button mushrooms, chopped
5 morel mushrooms, medium/large, chopped
1 medium cluster of oyster mushrooms, torn into strips (remove and discard any tough woody bottoms)
1/4 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper
Dash of hot pepper sauce (I use Frank’s)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sweat the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic in 1 Tbs. olive oil until they’re softened. Add the fresh and roasted tomatoes and cook for several minutes. Add the beef broth, chili powder, and hot sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate pan, saute the mushrooms in 2 Tbs. olive oil until they are softened and start to brown a little around the edges. Add the mushrooms to the soup and simmer for 20 minutes, adding water as needed to get the whatever soupy consistency suits your taste.
Serve with a grating of fresh Parmesan cheese, bread sticks and butter.
Makes 2 generous servings for lunch.