5 Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! - is meatballs. But how to create a gourmet dish centered around a classic - downright messy, even - comfort food?
So rather than attempt to create something neat and pretty and dainty and perfect, I decided I would work with the meatball's essential nature and present something simultaneously rustic and elegant; unstructured, yet refined. I think I've done that with this dish, a simple fish meatball flavored with shallots, parsley, garlic, and lemon zest, bathed in a rich saffron tomato cream scented with fennel, leeks, white wine, and thyme.
And yes, the bread is homemade - an absolutely crucial component, as you will want to sop up that sauce!
Fish Meatballs in Tomato Saffron Cream
For the meatballs:
make approximately 24 meatballs
3 minced shallots
3 slices French bread, soaked in milk and squeezed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pound of firm white fleshed fish (I used Greenland turbot, a sustainably fished relative of halibut)
2 small or one large egg, beaten
1 cup parsley, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch white pepper
zest of 1/2 lemon
flour, for dusting
oil, for frying
In a food processor, whizz the shallots, bread, garlic and fish. Transfer to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. The mixture should be slightly sticky, add more bread crumbs if necessary. Form into 1 inch balls and roll in flour just to coat. Refrigerate to chill, about 20 minutes. In a sautoir, fry each meatball over medium high heat until just browned; remove to paper towels to drain.
Tomato Saffron Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 small bulb fennel, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron
1 cup fish stock
1 cup diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
a few thyme sprigs
1/3 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Saute the fennel and leeks in butter over medium high heat until soft. Add the white wine and saffron and reduce by half. Add the seafood stock and simmer until reduced by about a third. Add the tomatoes and thyme, lower heat and simmer about 10-15 minutes. Temper the cream and add to the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Gently add the fish meatballs, cover, and simmer on low until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Serve with the wine you used to make the sauce and a hunk of fresh baked bread.
I think sometimes simple can also be gourmet. Right?
To see all of the other fabulous meatball creations, check out Friday's wrap up by following the link below.
Thanks again to Natasha and Lazaro for hosting!