If you've found a puffball mushroom before and you haven't had them fried yet (the classic puffball recipe), grab some flour, egg, and breadcrumbs and get to work next time you come score one.
Puffballs can be delicious, but I've found that some people get turned off at the texture, which can be a little soft. If you're wondering how to cook a puffball you've found, this is probably the most tried and true way I know to prepare them.
I love the texture of a properly prepared puffball, the quality of which I usually judge by the caramelization of the mushroom itself, in other words, I want puffballs fried golden brown, because they taste better.
Puffballs poorly browned will have an awkward feeling in the mouth, kind of like a thin, flaccid marshmallow. If they're browned though, they take on nutty hints of cheesy, mushroomy goodness.
Hitting puffballs with the classic flour/egg/breadcrumb method makes them into crispy little cutlets that hold their shape just like a piece of meat would, or anything that's been breaded really.
Although the mushroom itself gets kind of steamed inside it's crispy breadcrumb coating, somehow it works. Granted, it's hard to make fried food taste bad and I don't bread and fry food to eat all the time, but I do keep it in the bag of tricks for when it's useful because it tastes great.
After you've fried your puffballs up you can do whatever you want with them. Plenty of recipes will dump stuff all over them like cheese, gravy, etc. Generally, I like a lighter touch, although I did make a lasagna with them the other week.
An Italian, Italian American, and also Argentinian and Mexican tradition (Via Italian immigration in WW2) is the "Milanesa" (named for the Northern Italian town of Milan) or breaded cutlet, which could be from the traditional veal, or from chicken pork or beef.
Most of the time, it's served straight up, maybe with a little lemon on the side, or my favorite-an arugula salad, lemon and a little olive oil.
In the picture, I had it with an arugula salad and a few capers made from dandelion buds. Sometimes I serve capers fried too-held at room temperature and sprinkled on things. Just dredge them in flour, fry until crisp, set on a towel to dry until you need them.
The finished product is great all by itself served with a green salad or your favorite vegetable side, but it's also good used to make puffball parmesan, which you can do by smothering the fried slices in some mozzarella, tomato sauce and parmesan.
Fried Puffball Mushrooms
- 1 Cast iron skillet or 10 inch frying pan
- 3 Mixing bowls
- 8 oz Fresh puffball mushrooms puffball mushrooms vary in size
- 1.5`1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon Fresh ground black pepper
- 1.5 cups All purpose flour
- Panko breadcrumbs
- 3 large Eggs beaten well with a splash of half and half
- High heat cooking oil like grapeseed, as needed, for frying
For serving (optional)
- Fresh arugula or whatever greens you have/prefer
- Fresh lemon juice or wedge
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat an oven to 225, or to a warm setting.
- Mix the flour with the salt. If you can grind the salt in a spice grinder to make it fine, do it.
- If you haven't already, slice off the root end of the puffball and inspect for any bug damage, the flesh of the mushroom should be perfectly white, not at all greenish-yellow.
- Using a long, sharp slicing knife, slice the puffball into ½ inch or so slices. Liberally coat the mushroom slices in flour, then tap off the excess and dip them in beaten egg, then the panko breadcrumbs.
- Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan (¼-1/2 a cup should be good depending on the size of your mushroom slices and the size of your pan) on medium heat.
- When the oil is hot and a breadcrumb sizzles in it, add the puffball slices and cook until golden brown on each side. Watch the heat, and increase or decrease it slightly, keeping an eye on the mushrooms so you don't burn them.
- Pay close attention to the amount of oil in the pan, the breadcrumbs are going to soak up oil, and you don't to let the pan get dry, think of it like a shallow deep-fry. If the pan gets dry, add more oil.
- Once the mushrooms are browned, place them in the warm oven on a cookie sheet with a resting rack to prevent the heat from being trapped and steaming the crispy crust until you're done with the rest.
- When the mushrooms are all fried, sprinkle them lightly with some nice salt if you have, or just kosher salt, dress the arugula or other greens with the lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, then serve immediately.
if you could learn to grown these commercially you'd be a Kazillionaire! 🙂 Imagine the top end restaurants ordering these babies……wow……I recently found a small field where about 25 of them come up every year-----GOLD….
Yes. Cultivating them would be awesome!
We have a gift of Rams Head Mushrooms. Could you recommend a recipe for me? I love the breaded fried puffballs. It’s my new favorite way to cook them!
Try my basic roasted hen of the woods (assuming you're talking about Grifola)
Unfortunately, one is lucky to find a puffball growing on it's own Cultivating them would indeed be awesome!
Rebecca A. Nyberg
I like them best cooked a similar way, only I dip in egg and then fresh grated Parmesan. Believe it or not, the cheese stands up well to the frying (just a bit less than medium heat, minimal oil, and in a ceramic pan worked well for me).
I don't suppose you would share that puffball lasagna recipe here? My friend gave me 2 last night and they are huge!
Hi Melissa, the puffball lasagna will be posted next year, the blog is written a year in advance and publishes itself.
Found two puffballs yesterday. Going to try this recipe tonight.
What do I do with the butter? It's in the ingredients list, but not in the recipe steps.
Gotd a vollyball and teatherball pair of puffballs today in the yard for the first time. Very rainy summer. Peeled in the fridge; .Recipe hunting.
Thanks for the recipe. It looks so delicious I can't wait for Puffball season to come around and I will try it out.
ya i just found about 10 of these big beautiful babies out at my hunting area. Gonna go well with my doves and goose tonight. Thanks for the recipe ????????
Made puffball Parmigiano on homemade ciabatta bread today. Love to forage and love to cook. You've inspired me to put it all together
Fernanda Luciana Leporace
Thank you! I read your post a few weeks back...today I went for a walk snd found a spot with several puffballs. I brought one home to try it out!
Congrats. Let me know if you have any questions.
Whoa- this is wild… went on a hike today and stumbled on a mini field of puffballs so i grabbed one to try as I’ve heard they are good . I got home and Googled ‘puffball recipes’ and yours was the first to pop up. The wild part is that I was unfamiliar with Forager Chef until this week when I met you at the Airbnb in MKE! Small world!
Wow. Yep, that’s me, just your average basement dweller 😂! Great to chat with you.
Okay... found rwo somewhat large puffballs growing nearby... one was 3/4 lb. and the other 1/2 lb. Size not important. I will say that they were very slightly yellowed in the interior..... but I don't think that this had any adverse effects. (At least, I hope not.) Tried to follow the above recipe. High heat cooking oil required(?)..... geez.... the recipe does not call out a cooking temp. Must be something like medium-high(?) Tried this.... and ended up burning my hand, trying to turn the slices before they burnt up. This, they did quickly, and the taste was bad. Next batch.... I switched to a notch below medium on my electric stove. (4). Well.... not too bad. The taste was like tasteless, sugarless marshmallows with a delicious coating of fried panko crumbs. My last try was at medium-low heat. Took many minutes to attain the browning, but it did cook the mushroom much more, and bring out its flavor.... as much as can be expected. I've dealt with puffballs before.... and I realize it is difficult to coax flavor out of them. Maybe I will try the saute in butter recipe next.
Thanks for the feedback, I'll take a look to make sure it reads clearly. I have the tendency to assume people are familiar with cooking things that are dredged or coated in crumbs. Puffballs are really mild, and they won't be for everyone. The big issue here is that you cooked a puffball with a yellow tinge to it, which will taste awful no matter how you cook it.
looking at the fry, you could also do a stirfry and add it like you would tufo...?
Yes, but I recommend dredging them in cornstarch and frying until crisp first.
Sadly my puff is greenish yellow. I have the egg wash all ready. Oh well.
Why is it not safe to eat the green yellow center? Is it old?
We will have to go gathering again.
Hi Nancy, old puffballs could potentially make some people sick, more important is that it affects the flavor. It's very strong, and unpleasant. Try a bit and you'll see what I'm talking about-it's fine to eat a little taste after cooking.