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Minty Meatballs

Serves: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • ⅛ cup whole milk
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh mint, or 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano, or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish


Procedures:

On trips to Spain I have sampled many different versions of the meatball in tapas bars—some in sauce, others on skewers to simply enjoy as is. For buffet service, I set a small dish of toothpicks alongside a platter of these meatballs, so guests can easily spear a meatball to enjoy as finger food. I like the combination of ground pork and veal, a light flavor that allows the seasonings to shine through. Alter the combination to include ground beef and/or lamb if you like. Note that you may need to pre-order ground veal or lamb from your regular market, or make a trip to a specialty butcher.
  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but not browned. Sprinkle the flour over and stir to mix. Let cool.


  2. Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small bowl. Drizzle the milk over and let sit to fully moisten the bread.


  3. Combine the ground pork and veal in a large bowl. Squeeze the milk from the bread and add the bread to the meat, along with the sautéed onion, egg, garlic, mint, oregano, salt, and pepper. Blend the ingredients well with your hands, then form into balls about 1 inch across (you should have about 40 meatballs). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before cooking.


  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In 3 or 4 batches, cook the meatballs, turning a few times, for 8 to 10 minutes, until evenly browned and cooked through. Transfer the meatballs to individual plates or a platter. Arrange mint sprigs around and serve.

by Sur La Table & Renée Behnke

 
 
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