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Trying to find a middle ground between traditional Italian (meat-bread-salt) and Kenji's slightly overengineered 20-ingredient version. Work in progress.

  • 400g lean ground beef
  • 1 slice of bread, crust removed, in small chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped (about 1Tbsp) - use parsley instead if you're not allergic to it like I am.
  • finely grated cheese, about 2 Tbsp
  • 1tsp soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • salt & pepper
  • oil for frying (I used a mix of grapeseed oil and coconut fat)
  1. Add about 2tsp of salt to the ground meat, mix well and let rest for about 30 minutes.
  2. Put the bread in a small bowl, cover with milk and let soak.
  3. While the meat and bread are resting, chop the cilantro, garlic, grate the cheese and get all ingredients ready. Once you start mixing raw meat with your hands, you don't want to go around the kitchen grabbing utensils.
  4. Once the bread has soaked up the milk (at least 10 minutes, more is better), take it out of the milk and squish out any excess milk, add to the meat, tearing apart any remaining large-ish chunks.
  5. Add the garlic, cilantro, cheese, soy sauce, egg, some more salt and pepper, and mix well but gently. Using your hands is the best (use gloves if you'd rather not touch raw meat).
  6. Using a small cookie spoon, or your hands, form balls of about 3cm diameter (they will shrink a bit when cooked) and place them on a plate.
  7. Heat the oil in your favourite cast-iron pan. The oil should be at least about 2mm deep across the whole surface. Heat until the oil simmers but doesn't smoke.
  8. Fry the balls in batches, turning them every so often with a fork or a small spatula so they brown evenly and keep their shape. Cook until well browned and to an internal temp of at least 70°C.
  9. Once cooked, remove the balls to a plate lined with paper towels, to blot out excess fat. Fry the remaining batches.
  10. Resist the urge to eat all the balls while you cook your favourite tomato sauce (slow cooked is best - at least 1 hour). Add the meatballs to the sauce and let it simmer some more for about 10 minutes to reheat the balls and soak them with yummy sauciness.
  11. Serve on spaghetti, with extra cracked pepper and grated cheese.

(Adapted from The Silver Spoon and The Food Lab)

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Page last modified on December 05, 2016, at 13:21 EST