Meatballs 3 Ways

After the winning meatballs and guacamole incident, I’ve begun to look at meatballs in an entirely different way (my weekly Saturday trip to Lucca doesn’t hurt, either…). They don’t have to be with noodles; nor to do they have to be with tomato sauce. They make great crostini toppers and appetizers as well as a slightly less traditional pal to pasta. I mean really – think of all the options: a meat ball is basically a burger in a ball, so you could combine just about any concoction and it will probably be tasty, right? Well, probably wrong, but you get the idea.

Before the recipes, here’re a couple notes:

    For all of these recipes, except for the goat cheese, the cheese is a bit salty so you should be sure to go easy when salting the meat.

    If you plan on mixing and then storing the meat for a bit, make sure that the meat is completely covered with plastic wrap that is directly on the meat. Don’t cover a bowl that has the meat in it, make sure the cover is touching the meat and keeping air out of it. The exposure to air will oxidize the meat and turn it brown. (This is how to know what meat NOT to buy in the store: you want good bright red meat.

    I strongly recommend butter basting these.

And so, without further ado, here are three eclectic meatball ideas: two appetizers and one main.

The instructions/process for all is the same:

      Very thoroughly mix all ingredients by hand or with a fork.
      Roll into medium sized balls.
      Add olive oil and butter to a skillet and heat on medium heat until butter is melted but not browned.
      Add meatballs, one by one and turn until all sides are browned, adding bits of butter when it starts to brown, and basting as they brown.

Prosciutto and Reggiano Meatballs

    1 ½ lb ground meat, part beef and part turkey (of course veal would always be a substitute…)
    ¼ cup fresh reggiano
    ¼ cup prosciutto, cooked until almost crispy (I recommend smoked prosciutto)
    1T chopped fresh parsley
    2 egg yolk
    3t breadcrumbs
    Salt (easy) and fresh ground pepper

    Serve over fresh noodles with olive oil, shaved Reggiano and a sprinkling of coarse Fleur de Sel (or sea salt). Add app. 2 teaspoons cooked chopped prosciutto to every 2 cups pasta, if you wanna.

Blue Cheese Meatballs

    Serving these with a small amount of blue on baguette will help bring out the mild blue cheese flavor in the meatballs. It depends on how much you like blue cheese though. Use the meat drippings to pour over the baguette.

    1 ½ lb ground meat, part beef and part turkey
    1 cup blue cheese (best are the milder, less salty and not too creamy ones because like the goat cheese, when it melts, it will have trouble holding together.)
    2 egg whites
    3t bread crumbs
    Salt (easy) and fresh ground pepper

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Meatball Sliders goatcheesemeatballs

    The creaminess of the goat cheese when it melts makes it hard for it to completely stick together, so this works really well as an appetizer slider on baguette.

    1 ½ lb ground meat, part beef and part turkey
    1/3 cup fresh goat cheese
    3t fresh rosemary, stemmed and finely chopped
    1t finely minced garlic
    2 eggs
    1 french baguette, sliced into ½ inch rounds, buttered and toasted

    *Reserve the juices in the pan and make a light pan sauce using 1 ½ T cream, 1T white wine and 1T finely minced garlic. Add to the still warm pan with meat drippings and scrape the pan. Cook over medium heat until wine is reduced and cream is browned. Pour over sliders. (Or keep it simple by a) pouring the as-is drippings over the meatballs and baguette, or b) just put the meatball on the bread and call it.)

    Serve meatball sliders on top of the toasted baguette.

Where can I get some ground duck?