These wild puffball mushroom burgers with a Parmesan crust are a fabulous alternative to the boring veggie burger – chewy, umami & free!
Puffball wild mushrooms are in season! I have never personally found these mushrooms before, despite frequent searches. But my friend David very kindly delivered me some this year, complete with full instruction on how to find the location should I want some more. That's my kind of foraging – generous, co-operative foraging – I think we could do with more of it in the mushroom hunting community.
So thanks to David I had a pretty stonking supply. I have always known what I would make if some of these beauties ever found their way into my kitchen - puffball mushroom burgers.
It's not just the fact that I really love burgers (check out my other veggie burger posts, Courgette, Feta & Lemon and Mushroom, Chickpea & Walnut), it's also the notion that this mushroom has a texture that makes them particularly suitable for this dish.
Solid, dense, chewy... And all you really have to do to fashion them into puffball mushroom burgers is to slice. No tedious chopping or machinery necessary for the creation of this meal - a rarity on this blog!
I got the idea for encrusting them in 'Parmesan' from this recipe. I had always thought that 'Parmesan' would burn if it was pan-fried like this for more than a couple of minutes, but I was wrong. It stands up very well to the heat, as long as you grease the pan with enough fat and keep the temperature moderate. The result is a beautifully crisp, golden crust with all the mouth-watering, umami flavour you would expect from toasted cheese.
Mmmmmmm, toasted cheese...
Add a sourdough bun, a little sliced tomato, half an avocado and you've got dinner! Well almost. You might need a salad or something.
On a more gluttonous note, puffball mushrooms are said to go particularly well with eggs, so if you're feeling the urge to throw a fried egg on top of your puffball mushroom burgers, don't resist!
As this was my first time eating puffball mushrooms, I tried them a little gingerly. Eating foraged food is not something I've been brought up with, so like many of us, I still have the remnants of a deep-seated suspicion of wild food to battle with. But one nibble and I was away! Great flavour, very pleasing texture. The crusty 'Parmesan' didn't hurt either.
Another delicious (free!) wild mushroom added to my cooking repertoire!
Puffball mushroom burgers
- puffball mushroom sliced (they vary in size, so one thick burger-sized slice each)
- 100 g flour many different flour types will work for this recipe, including gluten-free
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 egg
- 50 g 'Parmesan' finely grated but not powdered
- knob of butter
- drizzle of olive oil
- 4 crusty sourdough rolls
- burger toppings and garnishes to taste (I used tomato, avocado & cress)
- Peel the skin off the puffball mushroom slices - just make a nick in the skin and it should come away very easily.
- Mix the salt, pepper and flour in a bowl wide enough to fit one mushroom slice easily.
- Beat the egg with a splash of water in a similarly shaped bowl.
- Add the grated 'Parmesan' to a third bowl.
- Heat the butter and oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium low heat, until hot, but not smoking.
- Working one at a time, dip each slice in seasoned flour, then egg, then 'Parmesan', pressing the cheese onto all the sides to help it adhere, before adding it to the hot pan.
- Fry the slices, keeping the heat medium-low, turning once. When the cheese is crisp and golden and the mushroom is hot and tender all the way through, they are ready - about 5 minutes per side.
- Transfer to paper towels to drain the excess fat, then serve immediately with crusty sourdough rolls and whatever burger toppings and garnishes take your fancy.