Shiitake and Leek Flower Soup

Sautéed fresh shiitake mushrooms, garlic, shelled ginkgo nuts, young bamboo sprouts, fresh leek flowers and a fried quail egg in a flavorful vegetable broth with fermented soy..

Shiitake and Leek Flower Soup

3 cups vegetable broth (recipe follows)
1 pinch ground star anise
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground Szechuan pepper
1/4 cup traditionally fermented organic soy sauce
1 palmful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 palmful fresh leek flowers, sliced
1/4 cup slender bamboo shoots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shelled ginkgo nuts, halved
2 tablespoons pastured butter
1-2 fresh red chilies
fresh quail eggs

Bring vegetable broth to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with anise, fennel, cloves, pepper, chilies and soy.

Sauté mushrooms, ginkgo, and garlic in butter until golden brown and add to the soup along with the leek flowers. Simmer 5 minutes, then add chopped cilantro.  Ladle into warm bowls and top with a fried quail egg.

For the Vegetable Stock (recipe from Gourmet magazine)

1/2 lb portabella mushrooms, caps and stems cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb shallots, left unpeeled, quartered
1 lb carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs (including stems)
5 fresh thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves (not California)
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 qt water

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss together mushrooms, shallots, carrots, bell peppers, parsley and thyme sprigs, garlic, and oil in a large flameproof roasting pan. Roast in middle of oven, turning occasionally, until vegetables are golden, 30 to 40 minutes.

Transfer vegetables with slotted spoon to a tall narrow 6-quart stockpot. Set roasting pan across 2 burners, then add wine and deglaze pan by boiling over moderate heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 2 minutes. Transfer to stockpot and add bay leaves, tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes. Pour through a large fine sieve into a large bowl, pressing on and discarding solids, then season with salt and pepper. Skim off fat.  Use within 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.