I can't tell if I have built up enough cred with you folks to just tell you to try something. My gut tells me to go for it.
Trust me! These gorgeous little meatballs won't disappoint!
In the end, it isn't such a big leap of faith. I'm really asking you to believe in Nigel Slater. That's not so hard to do! He's a good egg, a passionate food-lover, highly regarded author and columnist, and celebrated home chef.
He calls these, "delectably moreish little balls." I find his writing and these scrumptious pork and lemon polpettine equally addictive.
You'll need ground pork, lemon zest and juice, fresh bread crumbs, grated parmesan, thyme, anchovies (I can't get enough of these little suckers, lately!), and parsley. The scent of a sour, salty sea breeze wafts up towards you when you mix these ingredients together.
And that's nothing compared to the aroma of these polpettine when they are cooking.
These little balls become delightfully sticky and crispy, so be sure to use a non-stick pan. After browning them, you let them simmer away in stock for a bit. The result -- a savory pan sauce that is perfect spooned over the polpettine and perhaps some slippery noodles as well.
I served them over a tiny grain-like pasta, but that seemed superfluous. I think the lemon polpettine with their juices drizzled over and perhaps a few slices of tomato and some garlicky greens are really all you need to be quite happy, indeed.
Nigel Slater's Pork and Lemon Polpettine
1 1/4 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
1 pound ground pork
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 large handful of parsley, chopped
6 large sprigs thyme, leaves stripped from stems
2 heaped tablespoons grated Parmesan
10 anchovy fillets, chopped
Flour, for coating
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chicken stock
Combine the breadcrumbs, pork, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, Parmesan, anchovy in a large bowl. Season with salt and more generously with pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Make eighteen or so small balls of the mixture, using a heaped tablespoon of pork for each. Flattening each ball makes them a bit easier to cook. Roll the balls lightly in the flour.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy non-stick pan. Fry the polpettine in batches -- perhaps eight to ten per. Cook for four or five minutes, until they are crisply golden on each side. Once you have done this with all them, put them all back in the pan and leave to cook through to the middle -- a matter or six to eight minutes more. Don't over-do it with the turning, so they are able to develop a nice crust and don't fall apart.
Pour out most of the fat and add the chicken stock. Leave to bubble for a good two or three minutes, scraping up any crusty bits. Let the stock reduce a bit and then serve the polpettine with the juices spooned over.