Magic Mushroom Soup

Magical mushroom soup

This is what happens when you turn off the computer and curl up on the couch on a quiet Sunday afternoon and read the Alinea cookbook. I ordered this impressive book while I was in Italy, before it was published and since we’ve been back in NY, I just been able to spend any quality time with it.  I didn’t buy it expecting to duplicate the recipes; I bought it for inspiration.  Just in case, Alinea is Grant Achatz’s Chicago restaurant, and it’s one of the most innovative, multi-sense experiences going on in the dining world.  I love how the book is divided up into seasons and the recipes, although very technical, are actually very pure, clean flavor combinations.  The description of the cold potato/hot potato recipe intrigued me, but I didn’t have 10 pounds of black truffles on hand, and I wasn’t in the mood for a cold soup, but it was the spirit of the recipe was enticing.

The Alinea recipe calls for a paraffin bowl that has a butter poached hot potato sphere, a sprig of chive, and a crumble of parmigiano all skewered on a pin that is perched over an ice cold truffle/potato soup.  While that may sound a bit precious, it’s actually a rock solid, time honored flavor combination with truffles.

Here’s where my inspiration took me: I made a mushroom stock with brown cremini mushrooms, oyster, shitake and some dried porcini, boiled a chopped Yukon gold potato in the stock, pureed it and served the hot soup with a sprinkle of parmigiano and a bit of white truffle oil.  It was a magical combination, like velvet on the tongue with a lingering truffle finish.

Yes, I know white truffle oil is a synthetic flavor and I’m willing to live with that because there are no white truffles in Manhattan that I can afford.  I also don’t believe that truffles travel very well and are best eaten as close as possible to where they were foraged, so I can’t justify paying the going NYC price for white truffles.  And for an accent flavor, the truffle oil was just fine.

As this was just a wing and a prayer experiment, I can’t give you a recipe, but feel free to riff on my riff and together we can make some lovely music.  Playing in the kitchen can be such good fun.

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

If you agree to these terms, please click here.