After strolling through Toronto's bustling St. Lawrence Market last Saturday for some seasonal produce, my eyes landed on this unusual specimen: a puffball! These large, rounded cream-coloured gems -- part of the mushroom family -- were my market-find of the day. I had never seen these anywhere before (have you?), but after a little research I knew exactly how I would be serving them.
Puffballs can be cooked much in the same way as regular cremini or button mushroom, although they have more of a soft, spongy, marshmallow-like texture. They reduce a lot when cooked and are best enjoyed warm. Even though I stocked up on heirloom tomatoes, golden beets and wild blueberries for the week, I was most excited about these over-sized cartoon-worthy goodies. With a little white wine, herbs and garlic, they make a perfect side dish. They soak up flavour with ease and plump up when cooked with wine.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups of coarsely chopped puffball
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup white wine
One handful of torn fresh basil
Add olive oil, butter thyme and garlic to a large saute pan on medium heat; cook for 2 minutes. Add puffballs, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add white wine; cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the wine has almost completely evaporated.
Sprinkle with basil and serve. Enjoy!