Mushroom Season, Hello Giant Puffball 2

Small Puff

Brooklyn, NY. I found this little puffball (Calvatia gigantea) on campus yesterday, sitting next to a giant Agaricus, and soon discovered a new culinary way to appreciate it: in a Chinese stir-fry (think broccoli and tofu in garlic sauce, with the puffball substituting for the tofu). The sliced and diced puffball adds a slightly mushroomy, almost creamy-centered texture to the dish. I served it over black rice.

Note: Edible puffballs should be pure white like buffalo mozzarella on the inside–if they’re green-black they’ve either gone to spore or they’re false puffs.

Also, check out Mark Vonnegut’s charming “The Mistaken Mushroom” in last Sunday’s NY Times Magazine. You always want to be certain of your fungi before you ingest it.

The next Urban Forager is due out this Saturday, and it may just feature this airy darling…

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2 thoughts on “Mushroom Season, Hello Giant Puffball

  • Chris Japely

    I was amazed by a bunch of soccer-ball sized giant puff-balls. A chef friend of mine (educated at the Culinary Institute of America) took them home and cooked them and ate them over three days with various friends.
    Now I have five more, all larger than the one in the picture above! My yard (East Rock section of New Haven CT) is where I found them …..

  • Ava Chin Post author

    Yes, they’re amazingly plentiful–and were very abundant this fall. I’m curious about how your chef friend prepared them. Folks seem to like them in fritattas or rather like eggplant parmigiana (subbing the puffball for the eggplant). I like them in Chinese stir-fries myself.