The secret flavour in this recipe comes from the wild local ingredients such as Caraquet oysters and delicious salty sea greens, picked along the shores at low tide.
Courtesy of executive chef Karen Mersereau, Hotel Paulin, Caraquet, N.B.
Place mushrooms and cream in microwaveable bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 7 to 10 minutes, until boiling. Stir twice. (Or simmer on stove for 10 minutes.) Let cool completely; refrigerate until ready to use. (If you prefer softer mushrooms, let soak for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.) Drain mushrooms well, reserving cream mixture. Finely chop mushrooms; set aside.
In large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté leek, white parts of green onions and reserved mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Stir in wine; cook until reduced by half.
Stir in potatoes, celery, fennel, carrots, bouquet garni and enough fish stock to almost cover vegetables. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are done, about 15 minutes. (For creamier texture, remove one-third of potato mixture and purée in food processor or mash in a flat-bottomed bowl with potato masher. Return to pot.) Pour in reserved cream mixture. Stir in seafood, oysters and juices. Cook for 5 minutes or until seafood is just cooked through. Stir in green parts of green onions. Divide among serving bowls and garnish with chopped fennel tops, lobster butter or wild sea greens (if you can find them). Serve hot.
Tip: You can make your own lobster butter, which adds a colourful drizzle on top. Boil leftover lobster shells slowly in butter for about 20 minutes. Strain and freeze butter in ice cube trays for easy long-term storage. Use this colourful butter in any seafood recipes.