Puffball Mushrooms

Three perfect puffballs

Last Wednesday I went for a walk in the fields and came across three gleaming white little puffball mushrooms, each about the size of a golf ball. I’ve found them before, and even picked a few, but never had the ambition to actually do anything with them. However, after last Saturday’s five-course meal at the Wild Garlic – wherein Matthew Beardshall served me a grilled puffball mushroom with roasted artichokes, shallots and kale, quite possibly the best vegetarian main dish I’ve ever had in my life, ever – I was inspired.

Pan-frying puffballs

There aren’t many recipes around for dainty puffball mushrooms like these, but I’d read that they go well with eggs. I really didn’t have many mushrooms to spare so I decided a simple approach was best: sliced and pan-fried in a bit of butter, then tossed with salt and pepper.

Once the mushrooms were cooked, I fried an egg while dry-grilling a few tomatoes, something I learned last Tuesday at Yotam Ottolenghi’s masterclass at the Vegetarian Cookery School. The whole lot went on a nest of curly kale, scattered with chives. I must admit, it looked pretty good:

Fried egg with puffball mushrooms

But how did it taste? Puffballs have a unique flavour that’s almost smokey, and a lovely spongy texture that doesn’t go watery. The large puffball at Wild Garlic had an almost paneer-like texture. These smaller ones were a bit dryer, but had the same earthy flavour and went very nicely with the slightly runny fried egg and dark greens.

It’s also worth pointing out that I picked and ate wild mushrooms and didn’t die. I’m hoping to find some more puffballs this weekend for round two.

Puffball mushrooms on the farm!

3 thoughts on “Puffball Mushrooms

  1. Jes

    Yay for foraging! (I’m glad you didn’t die!) I’ve always wanted to learn how to find edible mushrooms, but I have no idea where to start–the puff balls look so cute and delicious. And the smokey flavor does sound like it would work well with eggs. Yum. Hope you find more so you can play around with them again!

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  2. Sarah

    I just found a bunch of these in my backyard. It kind of freaked ne out because they burst open and released a greenish-brown powder. The wetter ones insides looked more like poo. Just wondering if these are the same mushrooms?

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  3. Don

    Been harvesting mushrooms for over 60 years now. Was taught as a young child by an old Russian fellow. More kinds here in Saskatchewan Canada than I could explain here. So many great tastes and ways of use. Do not, I repeat do not eat any that you don’t now. There are not a lot that will harm you but some will kill. Get someone out there to show you how to identify and you will be set for life.

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