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Puffball Fried in Bacon Fat

puffball fried in bacon fat puffball fried in bacon fat (photo by jhy)

You will need:
bacon fat
frying pan

Puffball is one of my absolutely favorite things to eat, when fried lightly in bacon fat. This is a food that doesn't keep well at all, so if you find a puffball, just rearrange your plans and eat it the same day.

puffball just harvested puffball just pulled from ground (photo by jhy)
Even if you aren't comfortable collecting wild fungus or mushrooms, there really isn't anything else that looks like the giant puffball, Calvatia gigantea, (identification post pending) so you can't go wrong. They can grow to about a foot across, but as you can see from the picture, the one I collected today was only about three inches in diameter. When they are edible, they are white, smooth-skinned, and will feel firm, like stiff foam.

To gather it, just pull it straight out from the ground. You'll see that it has a narrowing stem where it was attached to the mycelium below the ground. Hold it gently so you don't bruise or break the skin.

If you feel it needs washing, do so gently and dry it off. Usually, I just carefully wipe off any loose dirt with a clean hand or a towel.

puffball slices puffball sliced about 3/8 inch thick (photo by jhy)
Cut off the stem end, and reveal the inside. The flesh should be firm and white. If it has begun to yellow, don't eat that part. If there is just one yellow spot, cut around that. If the whole thing has yellowed (and become soft), just discard it and hope you find another. Peeling is optional- sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't if the skin is thin and smooth. Cut into slices about 3/8 inch thick.

Heat some bacon fat (I keep a jar in the fridge just for puffballs!) in a frypan and place the puffball slices in a single layer in the hot fat. Fry for a couple of minutes until that side is golden brown. Turn (you may need to add more fat because the puffball will soak it up), and fry the other side. It shouldn't need extra salt since the bacon fat is quite salty, but you can sprinkle some on if you really want to.

Eat right away!

If you find a big puffball, sometimes you can keep it over till the next day. Don't refrigerate and don't wrap in plastic. If you want to cover it, put it in a paper bag. As long as the flesh stays firm and white you can eat it.

fried puffball served with a salad fried puffball served with a salad (photo by jhy)

I ate this entire puffball for dinner with a salad. I used about two teaspoons of bacon fat in cooking, which is about 80 calories. I am assuming the puffball has about the same number of calories as a white mushroom, which is 6 cal/oz. The slices I cooked were about 3 ounces, so lets say another 20 calories. Total for the cooked puffball: 100 calories.


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