Along the Grapevine

Puffball Mushroom Strata


DSC03614.JPGHaving discovered four good sized (think soccer balls) puffballs in our garden recently, I felt compelled to do something new with them. My first thought was to make a lasagna, which I did, but since good lasagna recipes already exist, like this one, I decided to write about something else that didn’t rely on the goodness of tomato and cheese to make it interesting. I also wanted to use mostly ingredients from my garden which at this time of year is relatively easy to do. So although it is lasagna related, I didn’t feel right calling a lasagna, and since it is made of layers, I’ll call it a strata.

With so many to work with, I cooked all of them the same way and froze those I didn’t need for this dish or my actual lasagna for later use.

If you find puffballs which are ready to eat, not overripe or infested with bugs, pick them, clean them and either cook or dehydrate immediately. They do not store well. For more information on identification etc., refer to this page.

The first step is to wash them and peel them. The thick outer coating is easy to remove just by pulling it off.

Then slice them in about 1/2 inch thick slices.

I prefer to roast them in the oven at 350 degrees as by frying them they tend to absorb too much oil. Just brush them with oil on both sides and roast for about 10 to 15 minutes until they are a golden colour. Once cooled they can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for at least a couple of months.

To make a strata, I hope you will read this as a guide but not feel you have to follow it to the letter if you want to use other flavours. I used a squash puree mixed with butter as I would tomato sauce in a lasagna.  I wanted to add a light miso, couldn’t find any and added some tamarind instead which did not make for a very pretty colour. Next time I’ll try miso or nothing at all.DSC03615.JPG

For greens, I mixed two packed cups of fresh chopped greens. You could go conventional and use spinach, but I used a mixture of mint, parsley, lambsquarters, mallow and dandelion greens. These I mixed with 500 ml. of cottage cheese,  one beaten egg and some salt and pepper.

The other layer was made of caramelized 4 large onions and 4 Tbsp of sumac powder. A quick and easy way to caramelize onions I learned recently is to cook the onions in a large frying pan or wok with no oil at first, stirring them as they brown and turn translucent. This takes about five minutes. Then add a splash of oil and the sumac and seasonings and continue to cook, about another five minutes, until they are good and brown.

To assemble this dish, I spread half the squash mixture on the bottom, then a layer of mushrooms, a layer of greens, a layer of onions, another layer of each of the latter three and then topped it with the other half of the squash.

Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. DSC03617.JPG

I was pleased with the results and found the flavour of the mushrooms stood out better in this than in my cheese and tomato combination. The generous amount of onions and sumac went perfectly with the greens. I highly recommend using mint too. When I make it again the only change I would make is to omit the tamarind which is really just a question of colour.




Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

14 thoughts on “Puffball Mushroom Strata

  1. Very ingenious, I am not sure I would recognize or know how to deal with a puffball!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so inventive Hilda!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks delicious! If only the puffballs were that size here – I’ve only encountered golf ball-sized ones, at best.


  4. It’s amazing that you get puffballs in your garden! I have never seen one, but I have read many stories, almost like fishing tales, about “the biggest ever” he he. Great recipe, would it work with Portobello?


  5. This is so original that is worthy of being published in a culinary magazine (or equivalent). Very well thought out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Puffballs are so amazing! I haven’t seen one in person, but have seen many photos of them online. These used to be small brown puffballs in my backyard but they were hard and leathery, so I decided they weren’t the edible kind. There are lots of different kinds of mushrooms growing in my backyard, but I haven’t had the courage to actually think about eating them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s time to make friends with a competent mushroom forager! But until then, your hesitation to eat any mushrooms in your backyard is wise.


  8. Oh my gosh, I did not realize puffballs are edible! For some reason I thought they were not. We always get them in what I call the lower part of the yard where it’s damp (although we lost a lot of trees down there over the summer and might not get them next year. We’ll see.) I also still have a lot of sumac from when I made Chicken Shawarma! And I have miso, too. Hmm…now let’s see if I can remember when puffball season rolls around, Hilda.

    A couple years ago we had two large puffballs that melded together in a most unfortunate way – my neighbor and I had a good laugh over that one!!

    Liked by 1 person

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