Nothing says “rainy day” quite like chanterelle mushrooms picked under drizzly Northwest skies. A hot bowl of soup, however, makes a close second. Marry the two by whipping up a bowl of Vanilla-Scented Corn Soup with Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms, one of the recipes compiled in the new “Seattle Cooks,” written by Julien Perry.
With one degree in communications from the University of Washington and another from the Seattle Art Institute’s Bakery & Pastry program, Perry was perhaps always destined to write a cookbook. “When I realized the stories coming from the kitchen staff were more interesting to me than making sweets, I knew I was better suited for storytelling than actually making desserts,” Perry says.
Further experiences at local networks KOMO and Q13, as well as Eater Seattle and Seattle Magazine, left her more than familiar with Seattle’s dining scene, so of course Figure 1 Publishing picked the perfect candidate to write their second U.S. cookbook in the “city cooks” series, in which Seattle debuted about a year after “Portland Cooks.”
According to Perry, the cookbook is “a celebration of Seattle’s best chefs with a few rock star bartenders added for good measure” and is intended to appeal to both novice and intermediate cooks. “The gestalt of the Seattle restaurant industry can feel intimidating,” Perry admits. “This book should not.”
This recipe, which calls for white chanterelle mushrooms, is approachable for either crowd. It comes from Chef Shaun McCrain, co-owner of Copine restaurant in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. The sweetness of the vanilla bean and corn complement the pickled mushrooms, while the addition of chile de Arbol is a welcome touch of spice to the comfort meal. To pair, Chef McCrain and his wife and co-owner, Jill Kinney, suggest a French Chardonnay like the 2016 A. and F. Boudin La Chantemerle Chablis from Copine’s wine list, as it reflects the earthiness of the mushrooms, but also has enough acidity to stand up to the richness of the dish.
As you make your way through the book, you’ll probably recognize many of the notable restaurants and chefs from throughout the city. “You can look at the chefs and their recipes 10 years from now and say, ‘Yep, I definitely remember when that recipe was on that menu!’ or ‘I used to love that dish from that chef!’” says Perry. “It’s a legacy book. A wellspring of memories.”
Vanilla-Scented Corn Soup with Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms
Recipe by Chef Shaun McCrain, Copine Restaurant
Ingredients for Pickled Chanterelle Mushrooms
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces white chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned
1 cup water
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
1 dried chile de Arbol
1 bay leaf
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, until moisture has completely evaporated. Add water, wine, vinegar, chile, bay leaf and cinnamon and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to a shallow pan to cool. Set aside to pickle for at least 1 hour. Discard bay leaf.
Ingredients for Vanilla-Scented Corn Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
5 ears corn, kernels removed from cobs
8 cups water
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ cup popped popcorn, for garnish
In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat, add onion and vanilla, and sauté for 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Stir in corn and add enough water to cover the ingredients by 1 inch. Cook for 20 minutes until corn is tender. Add more water, if necessary.
Working in batches, transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain liquid into a large bowl. (Be sure to get every bit of liquid from the pulp.) Add cream and stir with a whisk until incorporated. Season with salt to taste.
Ladle soup into four bowls and arrange mushrooms on top. Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon of popcorn and serve hot or cold.