Friday, 9 September 2011

Miso Broiled Vegetables Including a Giant Puffball!

Giant Puffball
Oh, la LA! Mr. Ferdzy has the knack. Here's his latest - an enormous puffball, over a foot in diameter. Completely clean, fresh and edible too, which is rare at this size. It was found in the woods at the back of our property. Perspective makes it look smaller than it really was - in reality, the ends of the puffball protruded beyond the ruler on both sides.

So what to do with this fabulous find? The first thing we did was divide it up and give some away, as there was no way we could eat the whole thing. We kept one quarter of it, and then I thought to weigh it. The quarter weighed 750 grams so the whole thing must have been around 3 kilos! WOW!

So, what to do with it? We broiled a bit of it with other vegetables and smeared them with a miso paste. Some may go into spaghetti sauce. The guy who was here finishing the floor, and who had already expressed an interest in foraged foods, got a chunk of it too. He recommends garlic and butter, or cooking it with a little red wine, or even with a little mustard and maple syrup. Interesting ideas!

Anyway, the miso paste:

Makes enough for 8 to 16 large vegetables slices (1/3 cup)
5 minutes to make the paste; 15 to 20 minutes to broil the veg

Miso Broiled Vegetables
Make the Miso Paste:

2 tablespoons miso
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Put all the ingredients into a small bowl, and mix well, until the miso in particular is thoroughly blended. It will still be a little lumpy, but that's fine.

Broil the Vegetables:

zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, squash, or peppers
mild vegetable oil

Wash the vegetables (not the mushrooms) and trim and slice them as appropriate into slices about 1 cm thick. Preheat the broiler.

Brush the vegetable slices with the vegetable oil on both sides, and lay them on a shallow baking tray. Broil for 4 to 7 minutes per side, until slightly browned and bubbly,

Brush the vegetables with the miso paste, and return them to the oven for another 4 minutes or so, until the miso paste is bubbly and slightly crisped in spots.

Last year at this time I made Vegetable Pie with Cornbread Topping, and CLT sandwiches.


Panic said...

Wait, I don't even know what a puffball is! Explain! THIS IS A BRAND NEW THING!

Ferdzy said...

It's a mushroom, Panic!

I wrote about them last time I found one:

Don't forget to click through the links, which will have more information about puffballs. They're not just tasty, they are really fascinating.

Panic said...

Oh dear. I'm not a mushroom person, so this sounds sort of terrifying. (P.S. Long time reader :)

Jerry said...

Oh, Ferdzy, how envious am I!!!
I was just reading in Harold McGee’s book how North America (with some Western states/provinces excepted) is absolutely and totally mushroom phobic! In Europe, you would never publish this post without a fear of hundreds of people showing up with knifes and baskets. Been there, done that.
BTW, as with any fresh mushroom all you need is a butter (lot of it), bit of a salt, garlic, pepper and ground caraway seeds, they are the absolute must. We are talking heaven here!
Garlic Festival this Sunday!!!

Jerry said...

Panic, there is nothing to fear when it comes to puffball mushroom. There are no in-edible or poisonous imitators to puffball. Just do not pick them up on golf courses (herbicides and pesticides). Other mushrooms can be tricky since they do have nasty imitators. I had a great teacher back in Czech Republic, where mushroom hunting is an obsession, my aunt. She taught me all there was since I was 5 years old and carried on till I was 23. I have learned a lot. Mushrooms are not all that different here in Canada. It is just much harder to find a place to hunt them. And hunt you do. It is a season now. Thanks Ferdzy for alerting me!

Ferdzy said...

Jerry, you may well be envious! I could not believe my eyes when Mr. Ferdzy took me out to the woods to show it to me. It was like the moon had fallen to the earth. I have never seen such a one and never expect to again.

Panic, oh well - more for those who like it, I guess.

Jerry said...

I expect “Shaggy Mane” mushrooms any time now. They are growing just 100 yards from our house and I have the patch all to myself. I bought very fine brush to clean the sand off them. There is nothing worse than one piece of grit in your food.
Only problem with these mushrooms is timing, few hours make big difference.

Unknown said...

hi ..
we just found what we think is a puffball.. totally solid inside...
smells heavenly. but the outside skin is not totally smooth.. looks like it is starting to dry. and everything i am reading is saying this is not the season. it weighs about a pound...
what do you think?
we, too, are starting to try to eat what is near us.. we made maple syrup this year and just finished picking wild leeks.. appreciate this blog.

Ferdzy said...

Hi Unknown;

Thanks for your comment. It sure sounds like a puffball to me, perhaps a little past its prime. Yes, this is early. It is possible that the fluctuating temperatures combined with the high level of moisture has caused it to form early... it does happen. The high moisture level in particular really brings out the mushrooms. Like Jerry said, there isn't anything else that's solid like a puffball.