We continue to see meatballs across different restaurant categories from fast casual to high-end dining because of their versatility. Meatballs are a great dish to utilize leftover trimmings so as not to waste. In this instance, it may be perceived in terms of value from the operator’s perspective. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve see meatballs made from various cuts of meat, not just the shoulder; combining leaner and fattier cuts to get the right lean to fat ratio.

Meatballs are one of those food items that many cultures share because they are so adaptable; incorporating local ingredients to make a signature meatball for a specific area. Meatballs can be made from any protein or they can be protein-less. They may also be adapted to fit different flavor profiles like buffalo chicken, beef stroganoff or salmon croquettes, to name a few. They can be baked, braised, grilled or fried.

There are no set eating occasions for meatballs. They can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack. Meatballs can be sized accordingly for a sit-down or stand-up eating occasion.

Meatballs with Almond Sauce Recipe
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Ingredients

    For the Meatballs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 lb. pork
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 4 slices, white sandwich bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
  • 2 T. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • To taste, salt & fresh ground pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • Olive oil or canola oil for frying
  • For the Almond Sauce
  • 1 3/4 c. vegetable stock
  • 2/3 c. dry white wine
  • 1 T. lemon zest
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 slice white sandwich bread
  • 3/4 c. almonds, blanched, slivered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • To taste, salt & fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. For the meatballs, lightly beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the meat, then add the bread, mashing it with your fingers. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Work with your hands into a soft, well-mixed paste. Shape into balls the size of large walnuts and roll in flour. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a wide skillet. Add the meatballs, in batches, and fry briefly, turning to brown them all over. Lift them out and drain them on paper towels. They do not need to be cooked through, as they will cook further in the sauce.
  2. For the sauce, pour the stock and wine into a wide skillet and bring to a boil. Add the lemon zest. In a small skillet, over medium heat, fry the bread, almonds, and garlic cloves in oil until golden brown. Lift them out and let cool, then grind to a paste in a mortar or food processor. Stir the bread and almond mixture into the sauce. Add the meatballs and simmer, covered, over low heat, turning once, for about 20 minutes, until cooked through, adding a little water if necessary. Season to taste, serve immediately.
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