Meatball Salad

by Michelle on January 31, 2011

Well it happened again! Mr. Tastebuds was watching his Saturday cooking shows and I happened to wander into the family room to rest a minute and I found some inspiration for another great dish. On a side note…Why am I always the one that sits down to rest a minute whereas Mr. Tastebuds is half asleep, sprawled out on the couch?

Any ways, Mr. Tastebuds was watching a local PBS program called “Check Please” which sends three average Joe “foodies” to the same restaurant and each reports back on their experiences with considerations to food, service and ambiance. This week one of the restaurants being reviewed was Viaggio’s which received A+ ratings all ’round! Well, I couldn’t get to the computer fast enough to google Viaggio Restaurant and Lounge.

One item on the menu caught my eye and although it was listed as an appetizer, I knew it would make a wonderful and unique main course. The Meatball Salad had a simple description of “Romaine salad tossed in a Red Wine Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. I can do that!

Since I had just baked Ciabatta, Italian slipper bread and it was just hot out of the oven, the Meatball Salad would be just perfect!

I mixed up some meatballs using beef and veal and since I was serving this as a main course I made the meatballs about tennis ball size.   I made a batch of my Simple 15-minute Pasta Red Sauce and mixed up a salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, red sweet onion and radishes. For the dressing I made a simple Tarragon Vinaigrette with red wine vinegar.

The Meatball Salad was a huge hit! I had a few leftover meatballs and sauce and so I made up another Salad for Mr. Tastebuds’ Sunday lunch. He was a very happy man.

Easy Meatballs Recipe #2
Recipe developed by BigBlackDog

1/2 lb ground beef (I use ground chuck)
1/2 lb ground veal or pork or a combo of both
1 medium onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c plain breadcrumbs
1/3 c chicken stock
1 egg
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or a few shakes of Tabasco Sauce
1/2 tsp salt
4 or 5 turns of freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, chicken stock, salt, egg, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, and salt.
2. Combine with hands until mixture is uniform, do not over mix. I wear surgical gloves when mixing with my hands.
3. If you’re not using surgical gloves, put a little olive oil on your hands and form mixture into balls.
4. Pour about 1/2 inch of Olive Oil in straight sided, wide sauté pan and heat over medium heat.
5. Add the meatballs to the pan, working in batches if necessary, and brown meatballs, turning once. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Set aside.
6. Meatballs freeze very well. Any leftovers place in a ziplock bag or freezer container and freeze.

Tarragon Vinaigrette
Recipe developed by BigBlackDog

3/4 c olive oil (see note)
2-3 TBL red wine vinegar (You can also make this will white wine vinegar and it’s still delicious)
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/8 to ¼ tsp salt
generous grinding of black pepper
3-4 dashes of Tabasco (I used Hot Hungarian Paprika)
¼ tsp of Dijon mustard
Honey to taste, I use about 1/2-1 tsp

Makes about one cup

1. Put the first 7 ingredients in a container and blend well with a fork or whisk. Add about 1/2 tsp honey and taste. If it still needs a little more sweetness add another 1/8 tsp and taste again. Repeat until the dressing suits you.

2. It can be made up earlier in the day and stored in a glass container, covered, in the fridge; just whip it up again immediately prior to dressing the salad.

Note on olive oil: This recipe is only as good as the olive oil you use. Don’t use cheap olive oil or–horrors—‘lite’ olive oil. Use a good green “primavera” extra virgin oil, no blends. If you can find a French oil like Hilaire Fabre or James Plagniol, get it; it’s fantastic. You can substitute if you’d like. Variation 1: Walnut or Hazelnut oil instead of the olive oil. If I use a nut oil, I also add some nuts to the salad. Variation 2: Use half vinegar and half lemon juice. However you vary it, though, make sure you follow the proverb “a spendthrift with oil and a miser with vinegar“, the oil to vinegar ratio should be about 3:1.

AllRightsReserved@BigBlackDog

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Comments

  • Shelby January 31, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Love this! Especially with your bread.
    I couldn’t get over how familiar the comment sounded when you mentioned Mr in his chair watching TV and you went to take a rest….SO FAMILIAR only I have to deal with Grumpy watching hunting shows – unless he happens across Man vs Food. I’d like to know how come we don’t get to lounge around all day like that?!

  • Shelby January 31, 2011 at 4:55 am

    On second thought…..we probably could….but nothing would get done!

  • My Carolina Kitchen January 31, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Really like the combination of beef and veal in your meatballs and they look great in your salad. Tarragon in a vinaigrette makes it very special in my mind. Lovely meal Michelle.

  • Kayte January 31, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Tennis ball size…oh my that’s a lot of meatball!! It looks really good…I would never have thought to serve them like this. Mr. Tastebuds did good picking things out.

  • Mary Ann January 31, 2011 at 6:19 am

    I have been eating this salad for years!!! My dad taught me about this salad. I grew up eating my grandma italian food. Now when I go to an Italian restaurant I order 2 meatballsa nd a salad and with some italian bread that is my meal!!! I didn’t know you could get my salad at a restautant!!!

  • Ryan January 31, 2011 at 10:52 am

    You’re right, your blog does make me hungry.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michelle Safirstein, Holly. Holly said: RT @BigBlackDogs: @PheMom I made Meatball Salad and it was delicious! http://tinyurl.com/5sdvk96 [...]

  • kat January 31, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Matt says I am on a meatball kick right now so I should totally make him this!

  • Bizzy January 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I would never have thought of the mix of meatballs and a greens salad.

  • Feast on the Cheap January 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Ha! I love it – two words I never thought I’d see in the same sentence. Thumbs up from me!

  • Marigene January 31, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Your meatball salad looks divine! I could live on salads.

  • rebecca February 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    wonderful salad give me a plate :-)

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