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Crunchy Puff-ball
Make fresh breadcrumbs and toast them under the grill. Make a batter by whipping the egg lightly with a little water, then gradually mix in the flour. Flavour with pepper and salt and leave for 20 minutes for the flour to swell. Clean the puff-ball (it is usually unnecessary to peel it), then cut into slices about ½cm (¼ in) thick. Dip first in the batter and then in the breadcrumbs and fry in the fat created by frying the bacon, until they are a lovely, golden brown. Serve with bacon, for breakfast.

Young puff-ball
6 slices bacon
1 egg
50 g (2 oz) flour
Fresh breadcrumbs, toasted
Salt and pepper

The word 'puff-ball' is a corruption of Puck or Poukball, anciently called Puck-fish. The Irish name is Pooks-foot from the Saxon, `Pulker-fish', a toadstool. The American Indians used various species of puff-balls, eaten in their early stages of growth, either raw, boiled or roasted. The Zunis dried them for winter use, while the Iroquois fried them and added them to soups. The Omaha Indians cut the giant puff-ball into chunks and fried it like meat. When picked for consumption the flesh should still be pure white. As they age, the flesh turns yellowish. A good, young specimen can be kept in the fridge for a few days.


Origin: This is a very traditional recipe, enhanced by Jacqui Hurst's idea of the toasted breadcrumbs.

Alternative mushrooms
Calvatia excipuliformis
Calvatia utriformis
Langermannia gigantea

Crunchy Puffball

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