Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meatball Sandwiches and Cucumber & Red Pepper Salad

Tonight I served this dinner for some close friends. They loved it! The meatballs could also be accompanied by pasta if you want to do it that way. However if you do serve a meatball sandwich make sure you have good rolls... they are key. (If you live local, I got mine at Carlinos).

1/2 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground pork
1 lb ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (Whenever I have day old bread that I know we won't eat I put into food processor and make bread crumbs with it. Then put in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for the next time I need fresh bread crumbs. They last forever.)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs ( I didn't have these so I just added dry bread crumbs with a dash of oregano and garlic powder).
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 extra large egg (I used a large egg and it was fine)
Canola oil
Olive oil

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

For Serving:
Provolone Cheese
Fresh Rolls

Place ground meats, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of canola oil and olive oil in a large skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat. Turn them carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes and make sure you don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil when finished but don't clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute for about 5-10 minutes until it is translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan. Cook until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer on low for 25-30 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve with provolone cheese on good rolls.

Cucumber and Red Pepper Salad
2 red peppers
3 plum tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/2 a small red onion
6 oz. feta cheese, cut into bite size pieces

3 tbsp red (or wine) wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove, cut into pieces
1 shallot , cut into pieces
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried thyme (if you have fresh use 1/2 tsp)
1 large fresh basil leaf
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Combine the vinegar, garlic, shallot, mustard, oregano, thyme and basil in a small food processor. Then add olive oil thru the top and process until it all comes together. Add the salt and pepper and set aside.

Cut the peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes into large chunks (3/4 inch pieces). Cut the onion into very thin slices. Toss vegetables with dressing. Then add the feta cheese and toss again.

The meatball recipe is Barefoot Contessa and the salad recipe is adapted from a cooking class.

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