Anyone with the vaguest interest in food would have found it difficult to watch last week’s episode of the apprentice UK. In a task where the teams were told to peddle gourmet street food, one group decided that cheap and cheerful meatballs was the way forward. I couldn’t help but cringe every time their project manager talked about cutting costs further and further and at one point contemplated adding corned beef hash to make the meat go even further..before I come across as an utter snob I would like to highlight that my objection was not so much to them keeping spending low and charging the poor unsuspecting public up to six times the cost price of a student-mincemeat-starter-meal, but the total lack of imagination.. Well, that and how they missed the point of gourmet food entirely.
Ranting aside, I decided to share a slightly more inspired (meatball!) recipe from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries. Straight to the money shot, here’s how mine turned out:
Pretty tasty. The recipe actually makes around twenty but I styled it up small. The polpettine have a really light lemony flavour and actually don’t taste too much like pork. I would recommend these as a great alternative to your traditional beef and tomato meatball, a little bit fancy but unlikely to break the bank, apprentice candidates take note!
You will need:
white breadcrumbs 70g
pork mince 500g
a lemon *
handful of parsley leaves
grated Parmesan 2tbsp
10 anchovy fillets (I used fish sauce instead..)
*A quick note on lemon zest- I always halve recipes that call for a whole lemon (with the exception of cake) because I find the flavour overwhelming, I’m not about to enter a bizarre one-person discussion on whether it is the type of lemon I buy versus citrus sensitivity. To conclude it’s your call but I would suggest half a lemon is more than enough!
Super easy to make: mix the pork with the breadcrumbs, then add lemon zest and juice, roughly chopped parsley, thyme, Parmesan and anchovy. season and mix everything together. Roll small balls of the mixture in a bit of flour, flattening the balls makes them easier to fry.
Cook in olive oil and butter, first on a higher heat to get the delicious golden crust, and then lower the heat to cook through, all in all about 15-20 minutes.
A further step-I would class it as optional- is to add 200ml of chicken stock to your pan (sans polpettine) and bubble for a few minutes. The juices do make the patties more tender but for me it seemed to also intensify the lemon flavour, so not for everyone.