Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

March 11, 2010

George’s Second Favorite Dish: Meatballs

Without a doubt, one of George’s favorite dishes is the bouillabaisse served at Michel-Brasserie des Catalans in Marseille. Over the years we must have eaten there a dozen times and were never disappointed. The excitement starts the minute you enter the restaurant and see the bounty of today's catch arranged over ice. A motley group that may include rascasse, Saint Pierre, red mullet, whiting, monkfish, daurade, snapper, and grouper.

The meal starts with the fish soup, accompanied by croutons, and a bowl of fiery aïoli. The soup tastes so great, it's tempting to accept the offer of a second helping, but we have learned to restrain ourself and wait for the fish course. The captain debones our fish, places them on the plates, adds the potatoes--napped with fish soup--and more aïoli or rouille. It's hard to say what's more impressive: the ceremony or the meal.

Since I can't possibly compete with that, I settle for meatballs.


Baked Potatoes with Chives
Roasted Tomatoes
Wine: Bogle Vineyard Petite Sirah
Dessert: Chocolate

I buy most of my meat at Ottomanelli.* I particularly like their chopped meat which they grind to order. I use sirloin for tartare steak, round for hamburgers, and chuck for meatballs. To heighten the flavor of the meat, I add about one teaspoon of goose fat** and one tablespoon of Gold Medal Liver Wurst.** The costly goose fat paid off because it keeps forever; the left-over liverwurst makes a tasty sandwich.

I soak pieces of old bread in hot water, add the meat, goose fat, liverwurst, Dijon mustard, a dash of Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. I mix everything with my hand. It’s messy, but it works. Next, I form the meatballs and roll them in a mixture of breadcrumbs and thyme. I sauté the meatballs over high heat till browned on both sides, remove them from the heat, and let rest for a bit.

Since tomatoes have little flavor this time of year, I pan roast cherry tomatoes, cut in half, over low heat till slightly browned, and finish them with Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, an a bit of sea salt.

York Ave at 92nd St.

**Schaller & Weber
Second Ave at 86 Street

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