Late-Winter Warmer: Mushroom Seafood Chowder
Exotic mushrooms and Long Island Sound fish and seafood are among the wonderful discoveries at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. In this week’s recipe, these items are combined into a rich and nourishing chowder. Vegetables, milk, and white wine from the market add depth to this late-winter warmer.
Mushrooms at the market currently arrive from two regional farms. At Zehr and Sons’ Mushroom Farm in Ghent, exquisite shiitake and oyster mushrooms grow year-round inside the 40’ x 60’ barn.
“Some customers are interested in buying our fresh mushrooms because they are interested in eating superfoods,” notes Zehr. “For others, it’s all about the unique tastes of the two varieties we grow.”
For example, the oyster mushrooms are grown in “logs” the Zehrs make themselves. Shredded straw is first put in boiling water, then spread on tables where the mushroom spawn is added. The final step is stuffing the straw into special bags and hanging the bags in the barn. Over 21-28 days, the mushrooms emerge through the slits in the bags.
The Mariaville Mushroom Men sell gourmet mushrooms, medicinal teas and seasonings. The Chandler family owns the Mariaville Farm, located in Delanson, where Bobby Chandler grows shiitake, oyster and lions mane mushrooms. These mushroom varieties are cultivated both indoors and outdoors.
Chandler’s background in pharmacy makes him especially interested in the medicinal powers of mushrooms. He shares a wealth of information about the fresh mushrooms and those in the teas with anyone who asks.
In addition to selling mushrooms at the market, Mariaville Mushroom is now taking pre-orders for inoculated logs, so customers can try growing their own mushrooms at home. The farm offers the three to four foot logs in quantities of 1, 4, 8, or 16 logs, with the larger quantities offering a lower cost per log as well as other benefits. For more information about the growing process or if you have other questions on the mushrooms, email Bobby Chandler at email@example.com.
Seafood for this chowder comes from Pura Vida Fisheries. Rick Lofstad, a third generation fisherman, runs his business in Hampton Bays, New York. His family has been casting nets into the waters off Long Island for over half a century, since Lofstad’s grandfather emigrated from Norway. Captain Rick now distributes his fresh catch to more than twenty farmers’ markets in the tri-state area.
Mushroom Seafood Chowder
*Ingredients available at Saratoga Farmers’ Market
4 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion*, diced
2-3 garlic cloves*, minced
½ pound bay scallops* or other seafood*
4 cups oyster mushrooms*, sliced
4 C. chicken stock
2 carrots*, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 potatoes*, peeled and diced
½ cup flour
2 cups whole milk*
1½ tsp. thyme
¼ cup white wine*
1 Tbsp. parsley*
Salt & pepper, to taste
In large pot, melt half of the butter and saute onion and garlic, about 2 minutes. Add seafood and cook on medium to high heat, 4 minutes. Remove and reserve seafood and then add remaining portion of butter and sauté the mushrooms.
In separate pan, bring stock to boil and add carrots, celery, and potatoes. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft.
Mix flour and milk while vegetables simmer. Add stock and vegetables to mushroom pan. Add back seafood. Stir in flour and milk mixture.
Add thyme, stir together and simmer until thick. Add wine and parsley 3 minutes prior to serving. Season with salt and pepper.