The Maine Dish
Sometimes it’s not about “food of love.” It’s about gettin’ it done so you can get back to target shooting.
As cold and dreary as it was yesterday, meatballs seemed like the thing to eat. I figured I’d bang out a large batch, invite some friends over, and spread the love. Now, when you extend an invite to friends for an impromptu spaghetti and meatballs dinner and they text you back asking if they can bring guns and ammo to target shoot in your barn, you know it’s going to be a good night. The problem was that I was dreading the portioning out and rolling of the meatballs (I usually use a small cookie scoop to keep things relatively uniform) because I had already moved on to planning the gun part of the evening. So when I went out to the barn to grab a PBR and stall on the project for a few more minutes, I spied two mini muffin tins lying around looking every bit the abandoned one-trick ponies they are and I thought, “These would be amusing to shoot,” but then I realized they might solve my meatball prep situation.
After the pans were washed I started throwing chunks of the meatball mixture into the wells of the pan. I pressed gently to compress them a bit and then ran a nylon scraper quickly across the top to level them off. A quick smack upside down onto a sheet pan dislodged 24 perfectly portioned (~1 0z.) meatballs about the size of the pre-packaged ones you’ll find at the store. All I had to do was quickly round them out as I moved them to their spot on the pan.
The next time I do this–and I actually will–I’ll give the pan a quick spray with olive oil before filling the wells. That’ll help release them more easily and the light coating of oil will help them brown better if you’re an oven baller like me. If you’re a frying pan baller, this little trick seemed to help compact the meat enough to not fall apart while sauteing without making them tough.
What’s your favorite meatball recipe?