Rolling with it: Meatballs show their flexible side
Chef Tony Mantuano holds up rock shrimp polpette with spicy tomato sauce and crispy shallots at Bar Toma in Chicago on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Rock Shrimp Polpette with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Crispy Shallots
(From Tony Mantuano)
Rock Shrimp Polpette (makes about 18)
1 ¼ pounds rock shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ baguette, soaked in milk
Zest of one lemon
¼ tablespoon sea salt
¼ tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for cooking
3 Calabrian chili peppers
¼ bunch chopped parsley
Make crispy shallots and tomato sauce (see recipes below). Meanwhile, grind 1 pound of shrimp through grinder using a fine die with the bread (squeeze out as much milk as possible before adding it) and lemon zest. Coarsely chop remaining ¼ pound of shrimp and fold it in the ground shrimp mixture also adding the salt, pepper, olive oil, chilies and parsley. Form into small balls.
Heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and let heat for one minute. Add shrimp balls in batches, searing on all sides. When cooked through, 5-6 minutes, remove balls and place on platter and keep warm while cooking the rest of the batch. Add more olive oil to pan if necessary.
Place polpette on bed of spicy tomato sauce and sprinkle crispy shallots over top. Serve immediately.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Heat olive oil in medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally until caramelized, 15-20 minutes. Drain shallots on paper towel and spread evenly on cookie sheet. Bake until crispy, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Spicy Tomato Sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Pinch of chili flakes
One 24-ounce jar or can tomato puree
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 fresh basil leaves
Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chili flakes and garlic and brown garlic on both sides, 2-3 minutes. To avoid splattering, reduce heat to low and add tomato puree and ½ cup of water. Turn up heat and bring to simmer. Cook until slightly reduced, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil leaves. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to three days.
Updated: December 27, 2012 11:46AM
Shrimp, duck and mushrooms are just a few of the ingredients trumping beef lately as the principal stuff of meatballs.
Just in time for New Year’s Eve parties, we’ve learned of some tasty, festive meatball makeovers.
At the 2012 Kohler Food & Wine Experience in Kohler, Wis., one-time Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” contender Tony Mantuano demonstrated Rock Shrimp Polpette (the Italian word for meatballs) with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Crispy Shallots.
Slathered in seafood-friendly, spicy tomato sauce, Mantuano’s shrimp meatballs showcase coarsely-chopped rock shrimp. Lemon zest, Calabrian chili peppers and sea salt enhance the flavors.
Mantuano says meatballs can be made with everything from octopus and tuna to eggplant and lamb, but shrimp meatballs were what he noticed trending recently in Calabria, Italy.
Mantuano — the 2005 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Midwest — helms Chicago restaurants Spiaggia, Terzo Piano and Bar Toma.
At Bar Toma, rock shrimp polpette is on the menu. Mantuano thinks meatballs are a great party food.
“They’re fun! They’re the ultimate entertainment food,” he says. “Everyone loves meatballs.”
And the popular bites can be soothing comfort food. Chef Anthony Zamora has slightly tweaked his grandma’s meatball recipe. His veal and pork meatballs are a favorite at Atrio, in New York’s Battery Park, one of the areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. His meatballs were especially popular right after the storm. Under mandatory evacuation orders, Zamora and his staff packed up everything, storing food so it might withstand a power outage. They shuttered Atrio for two days during and after the storm. The eatery, which is part of the new Conrad New York hotel, maintained power. Atrio re-opened, providing hurricane survivors with complimentary Wi-Fi, phone charging stations and bottles of water.
Meanwhile, Zamora kept the meatballs rolling — and stewing. “Stewing them in tomato sauce for two hours really infuses the flavor,” he says.
The stewing process is stemmed in tradition, but Zamora tweaks his grandma’s recipe a bit. One addition is pancetta puree.
“More for flavor than anything,” he says. Zamora also suggests duck, white shrimp or wild mushrooms for making meatballs.