Mushroom Parmesan Bisque from chef Jacques Larson of Wild Olive

The Mushroom Parmesan Bisque from chef Jacques Larson of Wild Olive

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J36A3018-copy-2Jacques Larson is a native Midwesterner, with a French name, who cooks Italian food in the South. He has been cooking professionally since 1992, with his introduction to fine dining at the University of Iowa’s Stateroom restaurant. Moving to Charleston in 1996, Jacques has had the good fortune to open some of Charleston’s favorite restaurants, including Peninsula Grill, Union Hall and Mercato. Jacques also spent nearly six months, in 2006, staging extensively in Mario Batali’s restaurants in New York City and in the Piedmont region of Italy. In 2009, Jacques moved from downtown Charleston to the “country,” in order to head the kitchen at Wild Olive. To his surprise, he has found his greatest happiness professionally on Johns Island. The lucky chef gets to share his professional and personal joy with his new family: wife (Carrie), son (Jack), and dogs (Lily Bean and Maggie Mayhem).

This Mushroom Parmesan Bisque from chef Jacques Larson of Wild Olive is fantastic and perfect for the cooling weather

Mushroom-Parmesan stock (recipe follows)             4 quarts

Button mushrooms, quartered                                  2 lbs. (stems reserved for stock)

Medium diced onion                                                   2 quarts

Minced garlic                                                              1/3 cup

Butter                                                                          4 Tbsp.

Extra virgin olive oil                                                    3 Tbsp.

Thyme                                                                        8 sprigs (tied together)

Heavy cream                                                               2 cups

AP flour                                                                      ½ cup

Grated Parmesan                                                         1 cup


For the garnish: top soup with small cubes of garlic croutons, grated Parmesan cheese, white truffle oil, and chopped chives


To begin making this soup, you must first make the mushroom-Parmesan stock the night before. (See mushroom-Parmesan stock recipe)


Bring the mushroom-Parm stock up to a boil and keep at a low simmer.  To start the soup, place the olive oil, and butter in a medium size stock pot on medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat, and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent (approx. 7-10 minutes).  Add themushrooms and sauté until all the water has released from the mushrooms and reduces by more than half.  Once reduced, add the flour and whisk so the flour doesn’t clump.  Add the hot mushroom-Parm stock slowly, while whisking vigorously.  Add the thyme sprigs that are either tied together with a string or runner band.  Keep whisking the soup to prevent the roux from sticking/burning on the bottom of the pan.  Once the soup begins to simmer, add the cream.  While stirring frequently, simmer the soup for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.  Right before you pull the stove from the stove, stir in the cup of Parmesan cheese, making sure that the cheese melts and is incorporated into the soup.  Place soup in a Vita Mix or blender and puree as finely as possible.  Run soup through a chinois as the soup is pureed.


Garnish the soup with garlic croutons, white truffle oil, chives, and grated Parmesan cheese


Mushroom-Parmesan Stock Recipe


This is an item that we make to use up all of our mushroom stems and Parmesan rinds that we generate in our walk-in.  We literally collect about 5 gallons of stems a week and at least 8 lbs. of Parmesan rinds.


To make the stock, we place all of our stems and rinds in 2 roasting pans, cover with water (at least 1 ½ quarts of water, to make sure you have enough for the recipe), and wrap the roasting pan in aluminum foil and place in the oven overnight with the heat off and blower on.  For home use, use whatever rinds you may have in your refrigerator and just reserve the mushroom stems from the soup recipe to add to the stock.  Do not boil the stock.  The Parmesan rinds will sink to the bottom of the pan and will scorch and burn, not to mention make a bad mess for you to clean.  Once you check your stock in the morning and strain everything off (discard the stems and rinds), make sure you have at least 1 qt. yield for the soup recipe.  If you have too much, just reduce the stock down to a quart.

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About Wild Olive:

Wild Olive combines traditional Italian design paired with unique one of a kind elements creating a cozy yet sleek 135-seat dining room and bar. The towering majestic oak twinkling with white light at the entrance to the restaurant leads them through the fragrant walkway surrounded by olive trees and herb gardens. Custom painted walls radiate a warm gold that complements the expansive wall mural by local artist, David Boatwright and the hand-crafted antique wood toped community table. Drawing inspiration from picturesque vineyards in Italy, Wild Olive features an eye catching chandelier made from faux grapes. Guests can choose from three dining areas to best fit the ambiance they desire – the lively bar and community table, an intimate table in the quiet and romantic front dining room or a table in the aromatic back dining room with a view into the bustling kitchen.

Wild Olive’s menu captures the soul of Italian cuisine. By placing the emphasis on fresh,local and seasonal ingredients,Wild Olive highlights these offerings by pairing them with the highest quality, imported Italian goods. The kitchen also shares the Italian craftsman’s pride by producing artisinal, in-house salumeri as showcased in the Piatto di Antipasti di Oliva and house-made pasta, as featured in the Ricotta Gnocchi alla Marinara. Located in the heart of Charleston’s farming community, in John’s Island, Wild Olive showcases the fruit of local farmer’s tough labor. Whether it is Celeste Alber’s Sea Island Eggs, Ambrose Family Farm’s Escarole or Kurios Farm’s Bibb Lettuce, Chef Jacques Larson and the staff at Wild Olive would love to prepare a new or old Italian favorite, utilizing the seasonal bounty of the Lowcountry landscape. Buon Appetito!



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