For so many years, I've been dying to try a puffball - their solid mushroom flesh looked so satisfying, and it would be so gratifying to find one and then have mounds of the flesh to gorge on, free of gills and stalks.
Well I didn't exactly find my first, because it was growing in some friends' garden. There were loads of them, slow-mo popping out of the ground, like bubbles appearing in boiling water. I chose a medium-sized one (about 15cm across) and carefully pulled it off the ground. It had such a small area joined to the earth compared to the size of the mushroom.
That was last night. At lunchtime today, I peeled half of it (slugs had been munching the outside) and sliced it. It was lighter and softer than expected. I then obviously had to try my first puffball fried in butter with garlic and parsley. It was soooo damn good! Soft and silky - not slimy - with the distinct mushroom flavour.
The other half will go in an omelette for my supper.
My puffball experience has added to the loveliness of my autumny day - the first really cold day after a run of hot weather, so I lit the fire before going out into the sunny, crisp, dewy, morning to the village market. When I got back, the house had warmed up and I sat working by the fire until my mushroom lunch...