Puffballs with Plum Tomatoes and Olive Oil

During the autumn, in a good mushroom year, young puffballs are a treat which can easily be found on walks through the fields. They have a fine, smooth texture and a special affinity with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. For this recipe use puffballs that are completely fresh, firm and white.

Ingredients

  • 675 g/ lb ripe plum tomatoes
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • about 350-450 g/12 oz-1 lb puffballs
  • 125 ml/4 fl oz extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 rounded teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 1 dessertspoon sherry vinegar
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Put the tomatoes into a bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for about 2 minutes, then drain, peel and cut into smallish cubes. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Slice the puffballs across in pieces 1.25 cm/½ in thick and then roughly into 1.25 cm/½ in cubes. Put 75 ml/3 fl oz of the oil into a large, deep frying pan or saucepan over a fairly low heat. Add the garlic and stir around, then add the tomatoes and oregano and stir for about 3 minutes, until the juices run into the oil. Now add the pieces of puffball and stir gently for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the sugar and vinegar and remove from the heat. Add the remaining oil and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Turn into a dish and serve warm or cold, with good bread to mop up the juices.

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