Mmmm.. Veal. Once in a while, it’s totally worth it to splurge on something expensive at the grocery store. Although it’s pricey, veal is absolutely delicious. Veal is not only nutritious, but low in fat and a great way to cut calories. In fact, a standard 3 oz. portion of many veal dishes is less than 400 calories!
Our inspiration: Enzo’s, located on Arthur Ave in the Bronx, NY, has probably the best veal meatball appetizer we’ve ever had. The meatballs are juicy and fried to perfection. They are meaty and full of flavor. Enzo’s serves them over sauteed hot peppers and onions… and if you know Jeff and I, you know we like it HOT! It’s the balance of the spiciness with the sweet onions and juicy meatballs that makes us always want to come back for more.
Stew Leonard’s (my favorite place in the world these days) has excellent ground veal. I bought a little over a pound randomly one day… since it caught my eye & got my wheels turning… so on a lazy Friday night we decided it was the perfect night to indulge.
You don’t necessarily have to fry meatballs in order to be good! But they are DELICIOUS fried, so we made them two ways- fried and baked. Jeff sauteed 2 varieties of hot peppers and an onion in some olive oil for quite a while on low heat. We found it was worth the extra time to cook them slowly. While he did that, I mixed together all my ingredients, scooped/hand-rolled them into small meatballs, and separated the batch in half- one for baking and one for frying. All together we had about 24 small meatballs. I lightly coated a pan with non-stick cooking spray and lined 12 meatballs out evenly. Jeff pan-fried the other 12. The trick to pan-frying is to get the oil REALLY HOT and make sure whatever you’re frying is dry. Even the slightest bit of water will cause a mess. Believe me. I suggest getting a screen for your pan to contain the mess… they are inexpensive & totally worth it. I found mine at Home Goods (my other favorite place).
When you start to get good at cooking, you’ll start to eye-ball the measurements. I definitely did not use the exact measurements I provide below because I like to adapt recipes to the way WE like them. Example: I used less than 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs because we like our meatballs more “meaty”. You don’t have to follow the recipe exactly – cooking is not a science like baking is. I also added some crushed red pepper to this recipe, but it’s not necessary.
1 pound ground veal
1 cup Italian bread crumbs (it’s not necessary to use Panko)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh Grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 350°. Combine ground veal, bread crumbs, egg, onion, parsley, salt, garlic and pepper, mixing lightly but thoroughly. (Mixture will be moist.) Scoop with a spoon and hand-roll into small balls.
Frying- Heat olive oil in a pan until it is very hot. Delicately (so the oil doesn’t splatter) place the meatballs in the pan and cook until brown and firm. Cooking time will depend on how hot your oil is, but the cooking time will only be about 5 minutes. Make sure rotate them after a minute and a half… or so. Use your judgement.
Baking- Line the meatballs up on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until brown.
We suggest serving your fried meatballs with sauteed onions and peppers. You can serve your baked meatballs the same way, or with a little sauce. Don’t forget to sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan.
-Jeff & Cristina