puffball, lobster mushroom + bacon frittata

Eight months after moving to what I consider to be the most beautiful-yet-desolate region that Maine has to offer, I have finally found a way to get out of the house every day. I have finally found employment.

Don’t get too excited, because it’s only temp work. But for the next few weeks, I am scouring the countryside daily as a Potato Inspector. I have a hat, so it’s official. I also carry dangerous chemicals in the trunk of my car – – wicked, I know. And most importantly, I’m making a bit of bank to help fund New Venture, which I will unveil to you within two weeks.

It’s a stunning time of year to be outside every day, and I’m so grateful that my temp work coincides with this time of showy fall foliage.

It is the season of woolly bear caterpillars. I spent much of today swerving to avoid these cute little things. I paused to let some bounding deer frolic across the road in front of me. I slowed to watch an orange house cat out on the prowl; as soon as he noticed me, he feigned innocence, leisurely stretching and simultaneously releasing a monster yawn.

I can’t help but smile as I make my way across this vibrant landscape. Occasionally, sights and sounds cross my path that remind me of the life that I had hoped to find up here – of the career I had pumped myself up to obtain – and I feel temporarily downtrodden. But the dark feelings only linger until the next turn in the road, when a new scenic vista opens up to me and I find myself smiling again.

This is a great place to be, for now.

One of the aspects of life in northern Maine that I have enjoyed the most is taking the time to learn about and discover edible mushrooms. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that I post pictures of the wild mushrooms I’m eating from time to time. Such was the case recently with puffballs.

You probably know of puffballs as the fungi that exude dark puffs of spores when you poke them. You are correct. But before reaching that stage, immature puffballs are white and edible, and especially tasty with eggs. If you look for puffballs, make sure to only eat the ones that are uniformly white when cut in cross-section. Avoid any that have started to change color.

When the mother-load of puffballs made their way into my fridge recently, I knew that they were bound for a savory breakfast spectacular. I decided to go all out and create a wild mushroom medley of a frittata, by including some lobster mushrooms as well. Lobster mushrooms (the orange fungus shown above) are actually not mushrooms, but are fungi that grow out of certain mushroom species. I find this fascinating, and could write pages upon pages, but I will instead direct you to read more if you’re interested. Suffice it to say that you can identify lobster mushrooms by their undersides, which look like they’re covered in minute pimples.

If you are cooking with wild mushrooms, cook them well: I thoroughly sautéed the lobster mushrooms and puffballs in butter and bacon fat with salt and Herbes de Provence until they turned a satisfying golden brown. I then combined them with bacon, onions, eggs and cheddar cheese to create the most lovely frittata I’ve ever tasted. If you’re looking for a savory weekend breakfast treat, this is the ticket.

Puffball, Lobster Mushroom + Bacon Frittata

{A recipe by myself and my cooking companion}

Serves 6-8

++Ingredients++

1 1/2 c. puffballs, halved or quartered if large
1 heaping c. lobster mushrooms, sliced (discard any brown-fleshed pieces)
1 tbsp bacon fat
1 tbsp butter
Salt
Several pinches Herbes de Provence

7 medium eggs (5-6 jumbo)
1/2 c. whole milk
1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
6 strips maple bacon, cooked until firm and roughly chopped
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp Herbes de Provence

++Directions++

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a frying pan on low medium heat, sauté puffballs and lobster mushrooms with bacon fat, butter, salt, and several pinches Herbes de Provence. Cook until mushrooms are soft throughout, and begin to turn a caramel golden brown, at least ten minutes. Set aside.

Heat an oiled cast iron skillet (9-10″) over low medium heat. Add additional butter, bacon fat, or olive oil to coat the pan if needed.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk, two minutes. And the reserved mushrooms. Add cheese, bacon, onion, salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence, and mix well. Pour mixture into cast iron skillet when it is heated, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Occasionally run a spatula across the bottom of the pan in a figure-8 motion, to prevent the egg mixture from sticking, and to more quickly distribute heat. When mixture starts to bubble through to the top (about the same time that a turn of the spatula reveals a large chunk of cooked egg), transfer pan to the oven.

Bake for 12-16 minutes more, until frittata is cooked through. Remove from oven, and allow to cool slightly before serving.

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42 thoughts on “puffball, lobster mushroom + bacon frittata

  1. OMG… lobster mushrooms? I had five clumps of these in my yard last month, I took pics but then went on vacation… I just can’t get get anywhere with mushroom identification… sigh!

    1. Aw, shoot! You can always come to me with mushroom ID questions – I have no guarantees that I’ll be able to answer your queries, but I’ll sure be eager to try:)

  2. What fabulous countryside to be frolicking through! (Beats the concrete jungle hands down any day :) ) Beautiful photos, as always, I almost feel like I’m breathing in fresh air just looking at them.

    1. Yes, such excellent countryside to traverse every day. I’m very lucky, if only for this brief window of time.

      Aww, shucks. Thank you miss!

  3. Oh my gosh. A job. The County. Wild mushrooms. NEW VENTURE!!

    I love all of this. Also, I want to see that hat you speak of.

    1. NEW VENTURE! Current venture is tons of fun, though.

      The hat is probably not as cool as you are imagining…. it’s not a safari cap or anything, which is what I think of when I think “inspector.”

  4. Now I can say I know someone who is a potato inspector. Awesome.
    I love frittata! I think all those mushrooms would make the best ever frittata.

    1. Hey, you can indeed. This gig won’t last long though, so you’d better spread the word now;)

      This was by far the best frittata I’ve ever had… it must be the mushrooms. Or, well, of course there’s the bacon.

  5. What beautiful countryside! You’re the first lobster mushroom cooking potato inspector with cool hat I’ve ever encountered. Life is good :)

  6. Woo Hoo! You go you potato inspector you. I can so see you with the cap. Emma, I’m glad you found some temp work that’s keeping you happy and busy.
    Can I tell you how awesome your mushroom foraging is! That frittata looks delish.
    Can’t wait to hear about your secret venture.
    xxoo
    E

    1. I’m so pleased to be working again, if only for a little while. It’s been a long time coming, and I couldn’t be happier with the opportunity! Woo hoo!

      I love mushroom foraging – it’s like making money, you know?

      Secrets will be revealed soooooon!

      xoxo

  7. Many things to say:

    1) Congratulations on the job! I never knew there was such a thing as a potato inspector.
    2) I’m so eager to hear about the New Venture.
    3) As always, you forage the most interesting goodies and that is one delicious looking frittata.
    4) You have a cooking companion now?? :D

    1. Thanks Leaf! I wonder if my position as potato inspector will help me land other inspection jobs in the future. I for one have always aspired to Inspector Gadget status.

      I’m glad you’re eager about New Venture – I’m doing my best to build up excitement while I wait for a ‘contracted something’ to be finished!

      Aww, it’s always interesting when it’s foraged! At least, that’s how I see it.

      Girl, I most definitely have a cooking companion! He is the reason I moved up to this beautifully desolate locale;)

  8. Oh, I always dislike wooly bear caterpillar season because I see them in the road and am trying to avoid hitting them! Your frittata looks amazing. Love the use of wild mushrooms. Delicious!

    1. I knoooooow! I think I successfully avoided ALL of them yesterday, which was no small feat. Such lovely little creatures.

      Thanks! It was so delicious, thanks to those wild-ly good mushrooms.

  9. Stop. Did you say you are a POTATO INSPECTOR? *AND* it comes with a HAT??

    I think that means you’ve officially made it, friend. Whatever this mysterious “other venture” is, you can ditch it because you are a PI, and you know it’s official because it comes with a hat. I’m not sure I read anything else in your post because I spend the entire time thinking “potato inspector potato inspector potato inspector”.

    …Not true, actually – my stomach is rumbling and wishing my morning’s yogurt was actually a mushroom-bacon frittata. I’m excited to hear about your project! Don’t be down – just continue kicking ass!

    1. The folks are clamoring for more infos on the hat! The people love the hat!

      Sooo, I live in Presque Isle, and I am a potato inspector. That means I am a PI in PI. Cool, huh? Yeah, I know. I’ve basically now achieved all that I hoped to in life.

      Not quite, New Venture will blow this OUT OF THE WATER! I promise. It will kick major ass:)

  10. i can’t believe i’ve spent my entire life not knowing what a puffball mushroom is; it’s why i love having woodland-knowledgy friends from Maine who know that such things exist. and now, knowing that, I would be a huge fan of this frittata. HUGE. i’m sort of totally into frittatas in general, but 2-mushroom ones? ROCK.
    also, i am in love with the photo of bottom of the tree and the moss. like, i want it hanging somewhere in my house it’s that pretty. you take great photos.

    1. You’ve never poked puffballs in the fall? You are missing out! I demand that you seek out puffballs this autumn, because it’s like entertainment given to you by nature.

      I like that photo too, I know it’s not terribly autumnal, but I think it’s sweet nonetheless. Maybe you could hang it next to some state fair pennants and garlands… :)

  11. I don’t think there’s any situation in my life when I would have imagined reading about “puffball eggs”. You endlessly surprise me and fill me with learnin’, darlin’!

    Also, why are dangerous chemicals needed to inspect potatoes? Learn me more thaaaaangs! :)

    1. Glad to shock and wow and astonish…. endlessly!

      Well, ya see, dangerous chemicals are needed to inspect potatoes for ‘bruises,’ aka punctures and cuts made by the equipment that harvests them. The chemicals treat the potatoes, and allow the bruises to show up in a pinkish color. The coloring will seep in as far as the bruises go, thereby illustrating bruise severity. You have been learned!!

    1. Oh boy, however did you know!? Potatoes were had on the side! And then, we had potatoes yesterday. And then, we had potatoes today. And I think there are potatoes for lunch tomorrow, too.

      There is now a potato at every meal – – eek.

    1. Being a Potato Inspector has its perks. 1: I get paid. 2: I get potatoes. Yeah!!

      Stay tuned for the big reveal;)

    1. Lobster mushrooms! No actual lobster in this dish. Though some say that lobster mushrooms smell a bit like lobster when they are cooking, and I will add that they would probably go very well with actual lobster:)

      It is a fantastic experience, I’m loving every minute of it!

  12. Let me begin by saying that your frittata looks next level. Also, lobster and mushrooms are two of my most favourite things on the planet, so win win.

    Next, your temp job seems way cooler than the norm. When I hear “temp work,” I think of people sitting at desks under flickering fluorescent lights in weird office buildings. Potato Inspector sounds WAY cooler.

    And finally, New Venture had better be revealed soon. I simply cannot take it anymore! I’m getting some sort of New Venture ULCER!!!

    1. Now that I don’t live near the ocean (not that I really ever did), I don’t seem to purchase lobster any more. I have to instead get my kicks through substitute lobster mushrooms, and pretend that their surreal orange color is the color of lobster flesh cooking in a large pot of water. I can do this.

      My temp job is way cooler than just about anything. It’s nice to have a job that requires zero computer interaction whatsoever. Not so nice that I’ve fall behind on blog reading, but eh, that’s not the worst thing to happen. It might be good, actually.

      NEW VENTURE! NEW VENTURE! Tell your ulcer to chill out, dude. Or invite it to come and join mine, I’ve probably been developing a few recently during this lengthy process of venturing.

And now I'd like to pass the mic / So you c'mon and do anything you like ...aka, Leave your reply.

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