Monday, June 23, 2008

Mini Meat Loaves For Our Neighbors To The North.

Actually, any of you might want to try this, but Kimby is the one who asked for the recipe. This is the one that Michelle tore out of a magazine and sent me the other day.

This makes 4 servings and takes 35 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • Two 1/2-inch-thick slices of firm white bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for rubbing)
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Four 1-1/2 inch cubes of fresh mozzarella
  • 4 medium tomatoes halved crosswise (salmonella optional)

1. In a food processor, pulse the bread, scallions, basil and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until the bread is coarsely chopped.

2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the gournd chuck, grated cheese, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and blend well. Shape the meat into four thick 5-inch-long ovals. Make an indentation in the center of each meat loaf and tuck in a piece of mozzarella, then cover the cheese with the meat mixture to enclose it. Reshape the meat into ovals with slightly tapered ends.

3. Light the grill (duh). Rub meat loaves with olive oil and grill over high heat, turning until well browned all over and firm to the touch, about 8 minutes total; the loaves should still be slightly pink in the center.

4. Rub the cut sides of the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the tomatoes, cut side down, until slightly charred, about 1 minute. Turn and grill until the tomato juices begin bubbling, about 1 minute longer. Serve the meat loaves right away with the tomatoes.

Anyway...that's the recipe. I'm making this tonight and it's a recipe very unlike the meatloaf I usually make. I'll report back on what we think of them here.
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And the results are in:

The short story: They're really tasty. I'll make this again.

The long story: As I mentioned, I just had to monkey with the recipe. I only had dried basil, so I used about a teaspoon of that and then completed the 1/2 cup with some chopped fresh parsley. I only used two scallions. Admittedly, they were large ones but four seemed like an awful lot. I also added some roasted sweet peppers to the bread mixture in step 1.

This all came out as the wettest meat loaf mixture I've ever seen. It was just dry enough to hold together. I'm used to using egg as the binder and then just adding bread crumbs until it's got the right consistency, so, since this was using olive oil, I figured 'that's just the way it's supposed to be'.

Most grilling recipes will tell you not to play with the stuff you're grilling. That's absolutely essential with this recipe. Try flipping them more than once or twice and they're definitely going to fall apart. Also, between the natural fat in the beef and the olive oil, don't even consider trying to use an open top grill. You need to be able to shut the vents to douse the flare-ups.

What I'll change next time:

1. I'll cut the salt (at least in half).
2. The mozzarella chunk in the middle just remains a mozzarella chunk in the middle. Next time I'll use shredded mozzarella. Whatever ends up on the outside of the loaf will just burn off, but the stuff in the middle will have some distribution.

Anyway, GF says thanks to Michelle for thinking of us. We'll definitely make this again!

4 comments:

Michelle K said...

Glad I was able to solve your meatloaf conundrum!

kimby said...

This actually sounds really good! (although i will be replacing the tomatoes with perhaps grilled asparagus as we don't eat tomatoes here)
Thanks for sharing Nathan..now i have something different to cook next week when we have company staying.

Nathan said...

Kimby,

You should definitely cut the salt...it's too much. Also, It occurred to me that I have a fish basket that would have fit these little guys perfectly. If you've got one the right shape, I think that might be worth trying.

kimby said...

I was thinking of using the basket, making it easier...since i am pretty sure that much of the week with my company will involve wine and Guinness..anything that makes dinner easier will be a good thing. (thanks for the heads up on the salt)