To make tasty meatballs with a nice consistency, you would usually add breadcrumbs. However, a little while ago I had a few friends over, and since two different people with special dietary requirements were present (a teenage boy and a coeliac), I had to experiment a little. I have to confess – now that I’ve made these, I don’t like making meatballs with breadcrumbs any more. These really are better.
Approx. 750g mince (half pork and half veal is best in my opinion, but you can use other types)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
Approx. 1 cup almond meal
1/2 tbsp dried oregano or 1 1/2 tbsp fresh, both chopped very fine (It’s very important to keep these chopped up fine if serving to a teenage boy, otherwise you don’t need to worry too much)
1/2 tbsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh, both chopped very fine (It’s very important to keep these chopped up fine if serving to a teenage boy, otherwise you don’t need to worry too much)
1/3 of a small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped italian parsley to sprinkle on top at the end
First thing’s first, don’t panic and try to weigh ingredients to within a gram or anything with this recipe. You have a very wide margin for error here. Just relax, it’s sure to turn out fine.
In a large bowl mix the mince, herbs, chilli, garlic and egg thoroughly. You really have to use your hands for this. You need to get everything mixed through really well and hands is just the best way to do it. Plus, squishing the gooey gloppy mince through your fingers is one of the most interesting feelings you’ll ever come across. I bet it’s even good for your skin, it feels like something that would be.
Next, you need to add the almond meal about a third at a time. The amount you’ll need in the end will depend on how much moisture there is in your meat and the size of your egg and so you just need to add it until you find the mix to be as dry, or even a tiny bit drier than your mince was in the first place. As I said before, don’t worry about getting it just right. Just use as much as you feel like and it’ll be fine.
Now, roll your mixture into meatball sized balls. They will shrink a tiny bit as you cook them too.
Heat a little olive oil in a pan, or spray it with cooking spray, and plop your meatballs in. I tend to squish them so they’re more like mini rissoles, but that’s just me being a bit silly. Also, you’ll probably end up having to do them in a couple of batches, but that’s no problem at all.
You’ll need to turn them three or four times if you leave them round, or twice if you squish them, and keep an eye on them until they’re cooked through.
To serve them up, I like them just piled on a plate with the chopped parsley sprinkled over the top, but if you have a teenage boy coming you may want to leave the parsley off. You could also cover them with a nice tomato sauce, but I really just like them plain.
And there you have it. These make a very nice party finger-food because they can be served with toothpicks, and I always love toothpicks, and because they can be made early and reheated in the oven, and because people like them. Remember too that you can change up the amounts of herbs and chilli to suit your own tastes.
I’m quite proud of these simple tasty meatballs, and if you make them, I’ll be proud of you too.