Monday, November 3, 2014

Meatball express

I hate frying, probably a holdover from my childhood task of manning the backyard deep fryer.  But my husband loves spaghetti and meatballs, and meatballs are a handy item to make in bulk and stash in your freezer (at our house, meatballs are popular in curry, sub sandwiches, and in a savory cherry sauce for pot lucks).

When the butcher had ground beef on sale this week, I steeled myself to spend a morning frying several pounds worth of meatballs.  Even with an electric skillet, multiple batches would be required. I'm no stranger to baking meatballs- my mom used to bake meatballs and hamburger patties in cake pans lined with aluminum foil. It was certainly time saving but they tasted steamed and slightly tinny. Then I came across a suggestion from the Barefoot Contessa to bake meatballs on a parchment paper (or its silicone equivalent) lined rimmed cookie sheet- the low sides allow for heat circulation while trapping the fat.

Instead of getting greasy while falling over small children, it took me five minutes of hands on time to go from 5 lbs of raw beef to trays full of meatballs (probably even quicker if I had a cookie scoop).  Then in the oven for 30 minutes at 350, and dozens of perfectly browned meatballs (and no frying pan full of burnt meat pieces!) awaited me. And because the meatballs don't have to be flipped, you can use far less bread crumbs and get a more delicately textured product.  

I'm never frying meatballs again.

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