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I don’t watch a lot of TV.  But I’ve started using my DVR to record cooking shows that usually air at times that I prefer to do non-TV things.  America’s Test Kitchen TV show, and their second “Cook’s Country TV show”, are two that I especially enjoy.  Why?   They satisfy all sides of my personality:  my creative side, my analytical side, and my adventurous side.

Analytically speaking, I love how they give the reason behind why they do certain things.  The other day, they were cooking a sirloin roast and chose to bake it in the oven first, and then to sear it afterwards to get a good brown crust.  Why?  Because meats brown best when they are dry, and the loin is naturally dry when it comes out of the oven because it is so lean.

Creatively speaking, I love how they give me ideas on how to think out of the box on ingredients.  In a show where they were grilling meat, they experimented with BBQ sauces.  Most of their experimental sauces that used honey or brown sugar, just fell off the meat into the grill.  But, when they tried apple jelly, it worked beautifully!

Adventure-wise, they inspire me to try new recipes.  Because they actually show me how to make a truly great-tasting dish using a recipe that they have reengineered, I know I won’t be wasting my time cooking something that is just mediocre.

One new recipe that I plan on trying is for Italian Meatballs.  When I was four, I lived next to an Italian family, the Aiello’s,  in Moorestown, New Jersey.  I still remember the meatballs Mrs. Aiello cooked for Jim and me when we visited 25 years later.  I know that these will taste like those.  I can’t wait to taste their crunchy exterior.

Meatballs from America’s Test Kitchen TV Show

  • 2 slices hearty white sandwich bread , crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves , chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound meatloaf mix (simply a mixture of ground beef and pork)
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto , chopped fine
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano cheese , grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

FOR THE MEATBALLS: Combine bread cubes, buttermilk, parsley, garlic, egg yolk, salt, and red pepper flakes in medium bowl and mash with fork until no bread chunks remain. Add meatloaf mix, prosciutto, and cheese to bread mixture; mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture into 12 pieces; roll into balls, transfer to plate, cover with plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add meatballs and cook until well browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towel-lined plate to drain briefly.


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