|Meatball craze in full effect, but don't forget a crucial ingredient... - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
Oddly enough, this post isn't so much about the meatballs themselves, but what I think is the most crucial component of a good meatball: aromatics and herbs. We have a meat grinder, which is a handier kitchen tool than you'd think -- you can render sinewy, tough cuts of pork or beef into fresh-ground, tender morsels that can be formed into hamburger patties, or in this case, little spheres of meatball goodness. While some meatball purists may feel like the little meaty spheres should be as unfussed-with as possible, I prefer to infuse as much flavor into these bite-sized gems as possible.
|The true flavor stars of the Meatball Show - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
I've become a big fan of cornmeal for whipping up a fast batch of polenta. I keep it fairly simple, with salted water, milk, melted butter and whisking the cornmeal in as best as I can, to avoid lumps. As the rawness of the cornmeal cooks out and they absorb the cooking liquid, I start to build flavor with finely chopped rosemary and oregano, and even a nice little scoop of truffle butter. Even if you don't have the fancy butter, the fresh herbs perfume the polenta nicely, which goes well with the meatballs marinated in the herbs.
|Building flavor, every step of the way - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Having your garden herbs used throughout all parts of the meal really puts their flavor in the spotlight, even moreso than the dried stuff. I'm not disparaging dried herbs -- we can't always have a fresh garden supply year-round, but having the flavor of fresh herbs in a meal is a reminder of why it's so delicious to have them whenever you can. And of course, the most important lesson to remember, one that may even trump the flavor of fresh herbs, is the power of grated cheese. Whether it's finely grated or sliced into thin shavings, it pretty much makes the dish the equivalent feast for the eyes as herbs do for the tastebuds. Never forget to feed all the senses. Especially when you're a goofy food blogger. And take that photo as fast as possible so you can enjoy your dinner while it's still hot!
|Don't forget the cheese and definitely don't forget to enjoy dinner - Photos by Wasabi Prime|