One can benefit greatly by living in close proximity to a keen forager with an eye for mushrooms. The mushroom season in Dunedin has been exceptionally good and boletus are plentiful should one know where to look for them. Mushroomers may share their haul, but will never, ever tell where their mushrooms are found! Our generous benefactors have shared their bounty with us and some of the most thrilling mushrooms, the puffballs, grow right here in their garden!
Recipe for fried puffball mushroom
1 Good sized puffball, firm and pure white right through when sliced. The inside has a marshmallow like texture
2 to 3 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup dried breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt and pepper added and mixed in
Use a cast iron or heavy based pan big enough to fry the mushroom slices in 2 ot 3 batches
Enough pork fat or vegetable oil to come up to about 2.5 ml up the side of the pan. Apart from the great taste, pork fat can be heated to a very high temperature, ideal for frying
I have written about puffballs before, and this one was prepared by again slicing it into ‘steaks’ about 15 mm thick, dipped in egg wash and coated in dried breadcrumbs. This time the slices were fried until golden in pork fat, processed in our kitchen from a delicious home grown porker. I highly recommend frying in pork fat but those that fear animal fat can use vegetable oil. We ate the mushroom, dressed with a few drop of fresh lemon juice and ground black pepper, for dinner along with fresh tomatoes that ripened in Dunedin’s first hot summer since we moved here. The tiny lemons are from the tiny tree planted in our front garden 2 seasons ago.
Only flour for making the bread to produce crumbs and salt and pepper were purchased to produce this lovely meal.
After spending a whole day combing through Archives of Mezzano Martello in Milano, I was thrown out at 15H00, because they wanted to close for the day.
On recommendation of my wife, I made my way to the Navigli in Milano for a memorable lunch / dinner.
The Navigli of Milan are the artificial canals constructed between 1179 (Naviglio Grande) and the 16th century (Naviglio Martesana) with the purpose of making Milan accessible from the Ticino and Adda rivers.
I enjoyed the home made Gnocchi as a Primi and Polenta with Eggs and Truffle as a Secondi with fried Artchokes as a Contorni. Even though the place was still very quiet and empty as it only comes to live at night, it was a memorable and enjoyable experience.
What to do with a gift of porcini mushrooms, locally foraged? A recipe that would not change the flavour of the mushrooms in any way, but that would also be a full meal. Mrs BYF came up with a simple pie that hit the spot
Porcini Mushroom Pie
Pre heat the oven to 200 F
4 porcini mushrooms
25g butter for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pack of defrosted filo pastry
100g melted butter to brush on pastry
Fry the mushrooms in the butter for a few minutes. Unroll the pastry, remove one sheet and brush with melted butter, layer with 5 sheets all brushed with butter. Heap the fried mushrooms in the centre and scrunch the pastry up around the mushrooms partially covering them.
Bake the pie until the pastry is crisp and golden and serve with a fresh garden salad.
ENJOY with glass f home made wine!
It was our second opportunity to taste a Puffball mushroom. This one was a lot bigger than the previous one and after everyone had eaten we still had leftovers. The texture is marshmallowy or tofu like and is complimented well if fried in a crispy jacket of egg and unflavoured fresh bread crumbs ( Since I had fed all the bread that Mrs BYF had saved for the crumbs to the chickens she had to make do with foccacia crumbs, which were a trifle coarse). The flavour is very delicate, subtle mushroom and is easily lost by adding spices or other flavours. The breadcrumbs were considered salty enough so no salt was added. We used a bit of vegetable oil and butter as the frying medium. Previously we made a frittata with a bit of uncooked mushroom, which was nice, but did not do the mushroom any favours. The texture was lost in that of the cooked egg and the flavour was hardly discernible. The piece of mushroom had also spent the night in the fridge and that may also have been a bad idea.
The spores of this mushroom could be dormant for 10 years and mushrooms only appear when conditions are perfect. Nobody knows what conditions are required, so we can only hope and keep an eye out for next Autumn.
Crumbed and Fried. Enjoy!
We are so privileged that Puffball Mushrooms are growing in our friend’s garden across the road, and even more privileged that they are prepared to to share it with us for a MUSHROOM FEAST every year. So it was with great excitement that they called and announced that the puffballs are up. We went to take photographs today and will harvest them tomorrow for the feast in the evening. We shall report on recipes and results the day after tomorrow!!! How good can life be?
Sabatino Tartufi recently had an extraordinary discovery. The largest White Truffle in history was found on their farms in Umbria. Weighing in at 4.16 lbs, it is a world record!
The truffle is currently locked under security and it will be auctioned with proceeds given to charity. Further details regarding the find and auction to be released soon. Stay tuned!