I searched high and low for lobster mushrooms. No one local had them, and even the Whole Foods several towns over didn’t have them. I had to resort to using whatever dried mushrooms Wegmans had on hand, and that was shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle. This turned out to be really good! The kelp and the Old Bay really added a subtle fishy flavor. I never had lobster bisque before, but I imagine it tastes very similar. I didn’t have to add any salt and pepper at the end. It was already seasoned perfectly.
Vegan Lobster Bisque
3 0.5 oz packages of dried lobster mushrooms (or 2 cups fresh, if you can find them!)
3 cups vegetable broth (I used no-chicken flavor)
2 large shallots
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic
4 Tbs vegan margarine
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 Tbs kelp powder
1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay is best)
2 large roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cashew cream
Fresh parsley for garnish
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Lobster mushrooms are not mushrooms, but rather parasitic ascomycetes that grow on mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that resembles the outer shell of a cooked lobster. If you have access to fresh ones, go for it. If you have dried ones, however, toss them all in 3 cups of broth in a medium pot and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the mushrooms are reconstituted. SAVE THE LIQUID. This broth is one of the keys to the bisque’s lobster flavor. While your mushrooms are reconstituting, roughly chop your shallots, carrots, and celery. Add them and 3 Tbs of your margarine to a large pot on Medium. Stir often, making sure nothing browns. Once your shallots are translucent, mince and add your garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of your margarine and then flour, kelp powder and old bay seasoning, making a roux. Cook this for one minute.Next, add wine, tomatoes, and reserved mushroom broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Your mushrooms are now done, and they should be much bigger than they were in dried form. Chop them up, roughly. Don’t get all mincey on ‘em. You’ll want to reserve a few larger pieces for the center of your soup.
After the 20 minutes of simmering is up, blend the pot ingredients in a blender in batches and return to stove. Then, add your cashew cream and lobster pieces to the pot and stir. Bring up the heat to medium for a minute, and then it’s time to dish it out! Ladle the bisque into soup bowls and top with reserved large lobster mushrooms, parsley, and salt and pepper. Serve with oyster crackers.
*cashew cream: you need raw unsalted cashews. Soak them in water overnight if you can. Add them and enough water to cover plus one inch into a food processor and process until smooth.