Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Mom's Meatballs are the BEST!
The parmiggiano broke the ice and as my meatballing got better, so did my tolerance for cheese. I started eating mild cheeses like gouda and brie and before long, ventured into nibbling on chunks of parmiggiano, perfect with wine, and goat cheese. I still hate Kraft slices, but I will eat cheddar cheese. I hold my nose at provolone and try not to at those who eat it, but I love Jarlsberg. I can’t do gorgonzola on salad or otherwise, no matter how chic, but I will say that I have eaten pizza with “quattro formaggi” many, many times while I lived in Italy… (remember, it’s melted.) And although I will probably never eat locatelli sprinkled on my macaroni, I know it is the key ingredient to the golden brown, crunchy yet soft, salty, moist, absolutely best meatballs that my 78 year old mother still makes every Sunday. So I share the secret to their success with you but don’t breathe a word of it to anyone, especially not in their faces. You know, I guess I don’t hate cheese anymore.
Follow these directions to the letter in order to get the perfect meatball, I mean down to the brand of bread and salt. Don’t scoff. Aside from using parmiggiano instead of locatelli, I’ve used Pepperidge Farm white bread and it’s not starchy or moist enough; I’ve used Italian sea salt and it’s just not salty enough. If your supermarket doesn’t have beef, pork and veal chopped, aka meatloaf mix, ask the butcher! All-beef meatballs are drier and too meaty tasting. Until I used these exact ingredients, my meatballs just weren’t like mom’s. Use your hands to mix the meatballs or you will get chunks of bread or garlic in a bite and please, PLEASE, don’t try to cut on time or calories by removing the frying from the process. If you don’t fry your meatballs before you drop them into the gravy, don’t come crying to me.
1 ½ lbs.Beef, pork and veal chopped
2 extra large eggs
8 slices Wonder American bread
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ cup parsley chopped
Morton Salt (approximately 1 ½ tsp)
½ cup Grated Locatelli Romano cheese
Put the ground meat into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and pepper and chopped garlic. Drop the eggs into the center and add the cheese and parsley. Taking two slices of bread at a time, run the bread under water and remove the crusts, then ball the bread slices to squeeze out the water. Put each of the sets into the bowl.
Using a wooden fork, mix all the ingredients until blended. Remove your rings and other jewelry that may be susceptible to catching food particles and finish mixing the meatball mix with your hands.
Fill a large frying pan halfway with corn or vegetable oil and heat. Meanwhile, roll the meatballs into the desired size. (We sometimes serve meatballs as an appetizer so we make them small; otherwise, roll them the size of a regular good old fashioned meatball.) When the oil is hot put in a few meatballs, but don't overcrowd them, and watch for them to brown before turning. You'll notice that they start to shrink a bit in size and can be moved around in the pan without sticking so you can add more. Don't walk away or do other things while the meatballs are cooking because, in a blink of an eye, they can go from being perfectly brown to becoming crunchy and then dry inside. Turn them on to the other side and cook until nicely browned on both sides. Remove and add another batch.
At this point, you can either add the meatballs to your fresh gravy or freeze them for future use. Stay tuned for tomato sauce recipes.