So yesterday, on our walk in the woods with the dogs, we found a cache of lovely little Pear Shaped Puffball Mushrooms, aka Lycoperdon pyriforme.
We only took a small amount because I have so many dried in storage from last year.
We field clean mushrooms so that they aren’t a real pain to clean at home; all that leaf debris, dirt, bugs… Just a quick rinse and ready to go, oops, I see one not properly field trimmed down there!
When you start slicing you need to watch out for yellowing centers, this is an indication that the puff is old and will not be good. Puffballs, all edible types, should have a beautifully white interior.
these actually are beautifully white, just bad lighting
The texture of puffballs is like the texture of a marshmallow. A bit of a toothy soft chew.
The flavor is mild, it does get a bit more pronounced once dried, then rehydrated. They absorb flavors really well.
So I decided to do 2 things with the harvest –
Marinated, and Parmesan Puff Crisps.
For the Marinated –
I used the smaller for the marinated which meant mostly just halving, then sauteing.
Ingredients, I’d say I used
- 2 C cut up puffballs
- 4 cloves garlic
- tsp each chopped thyme, and rosemary
- lg pinch of chili flakes, plus s&p to your taste
- abt 1/2 c water, if I’d had some white wine open I’d have used that.
- abt a Tablespoon of cider vinegar.
- olive oil
Start with a very hot pan, I used cast iron, add enough oil to cover bottom and ripple when moved. Add the mushies, and brown, then toss in some fresh herbs and garlic, I used thyme and rosemary, I also tossed in some red chili flakes because everything tastes better with a little kick.. Once the garlic softens the oil should be just about gone. I then added a bit of water, enough to reduce for a broth. Then I added about a T of vinegar and let the acid burn off just a bit. Taste your broth and season as needed. If you can taste a bit of acid from the vinegar this should last a few weeks in the fridge.
For the Parm Puff Crisps
I followed the same instructions as with the marinated. I used the larger puffballs so sliced them into thick slices, same amount of garlic and herbs except I used rosemary and oregano. No vinegar or chili flakes were used. I let the water boil off till the pan was nearly dry. I removed the pan from the heat, spread the mushrooms out and topped with a generous amount of shredded parmesan cheese. The heat left in the pan will melt the cheese. Once the pan cooled a bit so that I could pull out pieces and they would hold their shape I set them on a silpat to cool and dry.
I think making quarter size crisps would be a great party tray addition
Puffball Parmesan Crisps
If you find a really large type puffball (Calvatia gigantea, commonly known as the giant puffball), these recipes still work, just peel them and cut as desired. I have heard that some people are sensitive to the skins on the giants.
here’s a great video on large puffs