I finally found my first giant puffball and then I thought: How shall I cook it? I have seen on Instagram that many foragers cook it as a schnitzel, with a crispy breadcrumb coating. Searching for recipes I came across a few that used mushroom slices as a pizza base. Here’s my giant puffball mushroom pizza base recipe.
Using vegetables as a substitute for a traditional pizza base can be great for people who are intolerant to gluten or prefer to lower their carbohydrate intake. I have featured vegetable-base pizzas before (aubergine base pizza), but this is the first time I have ever cooked with a giant puffball (Calvatia Gigantea).
The flesh has a marshmallow-like texture, very spongy but not slimy, and has a pleasant mushroom smell, which unfortunately changes into a somewhat less pleasant smell during cooking. A study published in 2014 found that giant puffball mushrooms contain essential amino acids including tryptophan. Another study from 2016 found that these mushrooms also have anticancer properties. According to the abstract from this study, “Many mushroom species have been used for medical purposes, as a result of also having many effects such as antibiotic, antiviral and anticancer effects.”
Serves 1-2 people.
200 gr giant puffball cut into 3 cm thick slices
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato passata
1 pinch dried oregano
1 mozzarella, cubed
salt and pepper to taste
a few drops of lemon juice
In a bowl Sprinkle the giant puffball mushroom slices with salt and freshly ground pepper, and dot them with a few drops of lemon juice. Rest for at least one hour. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius. Drizzle about one tablespoon of oil on a baking tray or baking dish, place the mushroom slices to cover the bottom completely and drizzle with the remaining oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and spoon the tomato passata over the mushroom base, then add the mozzarella pieces and sprinkle with dried oregano. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until the mozzarella has completely melted, then serve.
For more inspiration on how to cook wild mushroom, try The Wicked Healthy Cookbook: