October 8th, 2008
My earliest memories of puffballs are finding them in my childhood backyard and kicking them as hard as I could. I loved to watch the pouff! of spores as they were released into the air. Had I known then what I know now, I would have treated them with more respect. Most puffballs are edible! and free! and grow in nature! How exciting. There are many different types of puffballs out there and on the foraging day trip with Wildman, we found a few giant puffballs. No one else in the group wanted them, so Steve and I divied them up. He reccommended to do a parm dish, reminiscent of eggplant parmesan. The mushroom is really meaty and kind of rubbery. I don’t feel comfortable providing i.d. of puffball to the world as of yet, but my books say when the puffballs are young, they are edible. When they are full of a bomb of spores, they are not edible. You must cut them open to make sure it is white and meaty inside because it can be confused with young, toxic agarics. Get a book and take your mushroom to your local mycological association if you are unsure of anything. Please.
So, puffballs are yummy and are mostly found in fields and open areas. One of my books says that in England, passerby’s might confuse the giant puffballs to be grazing sheep. The giant puffballs can be up to a foot in diameter, which means good eats. Puffballs are next on my list to become 100% confident for foraging. Problem is, I just don’t find them that often anymore. Let’s eat!
Puffball Parm (beta)
Yields: 4 servings, feel free to vary the recipe if you have more/less mushrooms or want to sub eggplant
This dish is really tasty and you can vary it to your liking. I didn’t bother to do the whole breading situation with the mushroom, but you can if you want to. I’d like to try them again with a cornmeal beer batter, and when I do, it will be posted
1 pound puffball mushroom, outer skin peeled, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1 Tbl + olive oil
2 – 28oz can tomatoes (I like peeled plum tomatoes packed in their own juice, but feel free to use crushed or tomato sauce and omit the paste and spices)
6 leaves basil, chiffonade
1 tsp oregano, dried
1 Tbl tomato paste
8 oz vegan cheeze of choice (I like Teese)
1/4 cup Almesan (V’con)
- Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
- If not using prepared sauce, make your tomato sauce. Heat 1 Tbl of olive oil in a skillet and when hot, add garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute for 30 seconds on medium heat.
- Add the tomatoes (if whole, crush them in your hands while adding), basil, oregano and tomato paste. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, adjusting flavors (salt!). Set aside for later.
- In a separate skillet, heat enough oil in the pan to sufficiently fry the mushrooms. When the oil is hot, add the puffball slices and fry until the juices are released and you have some color on the mushrooms.
- Flip the slices and fry the other side until most of the mushroom juices have been cooked off.
- In a 7×11″ baking dish (or whatever you have), place a thin layer of sauce and then layer the ingredients as follows: 1/3 of the mushrooms, 1/3 of the mozzarella, sprinkle of Parm, 1/3 of tomato sauce and repeat 2 more times.
- Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Eat and enjoy!
Note: This recipe is veganized and is currently in beta, so be kind. Feel free to add your changes or thoughts.