I was taking the back roads to work after dropping the Man Cub off at daycare when I saw something large and white out of the corner of my eye. Looking in the rear view mirror, I could make out a soccer ball sized mushroom growing on the the hillside, just 15 yards from the side of the road. I hit the brakes (after checking for traffic behind me of course), put the car in reverse and pulled off on the side of the road. Jumping out, leaving the car door ajar, I raced up the hill and plucked the giant marshmallow mass from the leaf litter and jogged back to the car. Sitting in the passenger seat was my first giant puffball of the year.
During the lunch hour, I decided to saute up a sampling for co-workers. Slicing into the mushroom reminded me of slicing a loaf of bread, which in turn triggered an idea. Later that night I would have to fry up some thick slices of puffball to create a mushroom “bread” for sandwiches.
Each slice was cut roughly one inch thick and dredged in eggs, then flour, then eggs again, and then one last time in the flour. A quick fry on either side in a couple inches of vegetable oil followed by a quick seasoning of salt immediately after exiting the oil and the bread was ready. To assemble our sandwiches, onto the bottom slice of mushroom bread I placed a couple slices of mozzarella followed by thinly sliced chicken breast that had be pan fried in butter with salt and pepper. Then came a healthy slice of beefsteak tomato fresh from the garden, along with a couple more slices of mozzarella cheese help hold the sandwich together and a few leaves of basil. The top slice of bread was placed on top and the sandwiches were placed in a 350 degree oven just long enough to get the mozzarella nice and gooey.
The final product could have been eaten by hand, but a knife and fork made it a little easier. The mushroom bread itself was a little reminiscent of Wonder Bread® in texture but with a more subtle mushroom flavor. The bubbly crispy outside gave the sandwich a fun texture profile, pairing well with the soft mozzarella. Definitely the most fun way to eat a giant puffball mushroom in my opinion.