I found a giant puffball mushroom today while doing a bit of fishing after work. The giant puffball is a choice edible mushroom. I have seen a few before, but they were either too old to be edible, or I was unable to collect the mushroom at the time. Today I grabbed the basketball-sized mushroom and put it into my car. The mushroom weighed in at 4.5 pounds. The mushroom felt like a giant ball of dough, soft but firm. I could feel it compressing a bit from its own weight as I carried it.
I read up on puffballs to make sure I knew what I was in for. The mushroom's texture is like the cross between marshmallows and raw dough. Here is what the inside of the mushroom looks like:
I looked up a few recipes. I sauteed some big slices of the mushroom with garlic and butter.
The mushrooms absorbed a lot of butter. Prepared this way the mushrooms tasted like fried garlicy melty cheese. Or perhaps like a fried marshmallow without the sugary taste.
Next, I tried making a puffball soup. The recipe starts with sauteing onions and mushrooms in butter.
After sauteing, I made some errors. The liquid for the recipe was milk. However, between boiling the milk too much and adding an acid (wine), the milk curdled. I was able to salvage the soup, but it is hardly a cooking masterpiece. If I did it again, I think that I would just use chicken stock as the liquid and make the soup more like matzo ball soup but with sauteed mushrooms instead of matzo balls. The mushrooms have a dumpling-like taste and texture that would go extremely well with anything that wanted dumplings. Mmm... Hungarian goulash with puffball dumplings.
After I was done making a ton of food, most of the mushroom remains.
* A nice list of the best wild edible mushrooms
* A good discussion of puffball recipes
* Trout on the Battenkill - and wild chicken mushroom.
* Clifton Park Mushrooms - Mushrooms in my neighborhood
* Kayaked Upper Alplaus - A bad kayak trip with some nice mushrooms