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Forage: How to harvest puffball mushrooms — one of the largest to grow in the wild!

Chef Shawn Adler’s primer on the massive mushroom that’s “extremely easy to forage, but very rare to find.”

Chef Shawn Adler’s primer on the massive mushroom that’s “extremely easy to forage, but very rare to find.”

Chef Shawn Adler’s primer on the massive mushroom that’s “extremely easy to forage, but very rare to find.” 3:51

Anishinaabe chef Shawn Adler has been harvesting wild edibles since his mother first showed him how as a child. In each episode of Forage, he teaches us how to source in-season ingredients from our own backyards and sustainably forage them, before turning them into a delicious dish we can make and devour in our own kitchens.

Chef Shawn Adler’s foraging tutorials don’t typically start with a riddle of sorts, but there isn’t much that’s ‘typical’ about the puffball mushroom to begin with. “This is a wild edible that’s extremely easy to forage, but very rare to find,” Adler explains. “You don’t actually go looking for them so much as you happen upon them.” 

These massive mushrooms — which can grow to be the size of a basketball — aren’t available in grocery stores, but if you’re lucky enough to spot one, you’ll be left with countless delicious possibilities. In this episode of Forage, chef Shawn Adler shows how to safely identify and harvest a puffball mushroom, before throwing it on the grill and transforming it into a fresh, summery appetizer. Check out the video above to see how it’s done, then scroll down to grab the recipe. 

Grilled Puffball Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 1 puffball mushroom
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pesto, store-bought or homemade, to taste
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 cob’s worth of cooked corn kernels
  • ½ medium tomato, diced
  • ¼ medium red onion, diced
  • Juice of ½ lime (approx. 1 tbsp)
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Preparation

Slice the mushroom into 1-inch thick slices. Aim to make them about the same length as your baguette slices will be.

In a shallow container, marinate the mushroom slices by sprinkling over the garlic, pesto, some salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Coat evenly and set aside.

Slice the baguette into 1-inch thick slices and brush with a little more pesto. Season with salt and pepper. 

Grill both the mushroom and bread on a hot grill on both sides for about 2 minutes. You want nice toasty grill marks. 

For the corn salsa, combine corn kernels, tomato, red onion, salt and pepper and the juice from half a lime. 

To plate, layer each mushroom slice on a piece of baguette and top with corn salsa. Finish with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a few basil leaves and a little drizzle of pesto.

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