Loving a person can be hard; loving a meatball is the easiest thing in the world. Sounds like some good new hallmark card text, no? Anyway, I have found love elusive at times, but love of meat is something I have never struggled with, even when I was a vegetarian.
On Tuesday, over at the Slow Food USA offices, we celebrated "meat lovers (and chocolate lovers) potluck," in honor of St. Valentine's Day. We had lamb kofte balls wiht meyer lemon juice, rice salad with bacon, turkey meatloaf, boeufs en bandeaux (a variation of pigs in blankets--beef hotdogs from letsbefrank.com, wrapped in homemade biscuit dough), chili, and meatball sliders.
Oh, and also beet and goat cheese salad with caramelized cocoa pecans and chocolate chunk brownies. THIS IS MY OFFICE, PEOPLE. Is your office like this? Finally, the lone man in our midst brought a platter of bagels and two jars of nutella, and the lunch devolved into people taking hunks of bagel and smearing with the chocolate hazelnut spread, and then...smearing nutella on chocolate chunk brownie. Erika declared it "unctuous."
The meatball sliders were mine, and I was proud. They came from the recipe in New York Magazine two weeks ago, from the new-ish restaurant. "The Little Owl," and are trad'l Italian meatballs, made with veal, pork and beef. I had never made meatballs before so this was a good way to break myself in and learn the basics.
The basics are:
Mix the ground meat (equal parts three diff kinds) with a few eggs, some panko or regular bread crumbs, chopped parsley and salt and pepper.
Form the meat into little golfballs
Fry them in a half inch of vegetable oil until they are browned on all sides.
Drain them on a plate, do them in batches
They will fall apart a little; my officemates assured me this is normal
Use the fat and meat drippings as the base for a sauce
Sautee Spanish onions and garlic in the meaty oil
Add whole peeled tomatoes, fresh basil and some water to create a sauce which you boil and reduce for about 30 minutes
Add the meatballs back in and simmer for another 30 minutes
They are extremely delicious and very easy to love, eaten on a mini brioche roll smeared with dijon mustard.