Pan-fried meatballs

January 9, 2008

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Makes about 24 tiny meatballs or enough to serve 4

8ounces soft country-style bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2cups whole milk
1pound ground chuck
1/2pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
2egg yolks
1/2cup grated Parmesan cheese
1tablespoon kosher salt
1teaspoon ground black pepper
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/2cup chopped Italian parsley
1cup flour
1cup homemade bread crumbs or store-bought unseasoned bread crumbs
1cup olive oil

1. In a bowl, combine the bread and 1 cup of the milk; set aside for 5 minutes. With your hands, squeeze the milk out of the bread, breaking the bread into pea-size pieces. Transfer them to a large bowl. Add the beef and sausage. With your hands, work the mixture together.

2. With your fist, make a crater in the meat mixture. Add the yolks, Parmesan, salt, pepper, lemon rind, parsley, and the remaining 1/2 cup milk. Mix with your hands until blended. When you think it's well combined, continue mixing for a minute or two.

3. In two separate shallow bowls, place the flour and bread crumbs.

4. Take a piece of meat mixture about the size of a large grape. Roll it into a ball in your palms. Flatten it slightly into a patty about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat with the remaining meat. Dredge both sides of each meatball in the flour, shaking off the excess. Roll them in the breadcrumbs. Set on a baking sheet.

5. Line a large shallow plate with paper towels.

6. In a 10-to-12-inch skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Place as many meatballs in the pan as you can without crowding. Fry for 3 minutes or until browned and crisp. Turn and cook the undersides for 2 minutes more. Transfer to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining meatballs. - Adapted from "Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen"