Carrot And Ginger Bisque With Shiitake Mushroom
November, 2002

Serves 4-6 / Chef Christophe Letard of The Aerie Resort, 30 minutes from Victoria, pairs traditional French techniques with organic Pacific coast ingredients, accenting the mix with Asian flavors—in this case, ginger and shiitakes.

2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced
4 medium shallots, diced
1 small leek, white part only, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup white wine
2-1/2 cups milk or light cream
2 cups water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Mushroom "Caviar":
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
Fresh thyme, for garnish

1. To make bisque: Place carrots, shallots, leek, garlic, olive oil, and butter in a medium saucepan. Sweat for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat (vegetables should not change color). Add white wine, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Add milk, water, ginger, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer gently until the carrots are tender, 30-40 minutes.
3. Remove bay leaf. Pour mixture into a blender and purée until creamy (for extra smoothness, pass the mixture through a fine sieve). Adjust seasonings and keep warm.
4. To make mushroom "caviar": In a small saucepan, melt butter and sauté mushrooms, shallot, garlic, and parsley until tender. Add white wine. Cook for 5 minutes, until wine is absorbed. Pour mixture into a food processor and chop for 15 seconds. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
5. Serve bisque in a warm soup plate, garnished with "caviar," fresh thyme, and pepper.

Calories 370,Fat 18,Perfat 41,Cholesterol 44,Carbo 47,Protein 10