Blizzard Balls

Blizzard Balls - student project

Blizzard Balls - image 1 - student project

The wind was howling outside, snow swirling, and I happened to stumble upon this class. How I, by chance, had the ingredients in my fridge to complete the recipe I have no idea. Since I haven't gotten out of the house in three days I would simply call it destiny, so here we are: Blizzard Balls

The name is only a nod to the circumstances that allowed me the free time to watch Daniel's videos - which were educational and entertaining (everyone always says, "Don't overwork the mixture." But he didn't!), also the animal magnetism was a great tidbit ( I myself saw Jacques Pepin crack eggs on a flat surface and have been doing it ever since), so I used a bit of all I've learned from the masters to create a new recipe, which according to my sister, who's snowbound with me said of the formentioned recipe, "They are soft in the middle yet crunchy on the exterior," and I concur. 

I started with Daniel's ratio of meat to breadcrumbs to salt to egg. Genius.  

Blizzard Balls - image 2 - student project

In a large bowl I combined:

  • 1 lb. ground angus beef (85% - a little low in fat...)
  • 1 lb. mix of pork, veal, beef (no % labeled wtf?!?)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt (*secret ingredient*)
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. dried pain breadcrumbs (store what?)
  • 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan (in an attempt to raise the fat content, since I had no ricotta)

Next, I sauteed:

  • 1 medium onion, small dice in 1 tsp mild olive oil

When that started to soften, and the pan dried out a little, I added

  • 1 tsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste

I let that carmelize (cooking out the raw taste)

  • added 1 tbsp (2-3 cloves) minced garlic
  • season with salt & pepper
  • stir in 1 tbsp butter (for a little more fat)

Add everything together in a big bowl and mix vigorously yet quickly...

Blizzard Balls - image 3 - student project

 Viola. The mix. A little sticky, but not too wet. So as advised, I found an ice cream scoop - opted for the 1 oz. not the 2 and began to portion out the balls.

 Blizzard Balls - image 4 - student project

I wasn't as good as Daniel at portioning them out evenly. I had two "dainty balls" left- but that's ok.  I used one as the "tester patty" to check for seasoning, and it was good. So I rolled away.

Blizzard Balls - image 5 - student project

Rather than roast the meatballs, I wanted to saute them in olive oil.

I put a low layer of mild olive oil on the bottom of a non-stick pan. I heated the oil until shimmering, added 12 meatballs then lowered the heat to medium-low.

You can't really walk away from these either, do a few dishes in between, but then you need to flip the meatballs over to brown on all sides. I realized I was doing a three-flip technique - which made the round balls somewhat triangular...but they were golden brown and crunchy and delicious. (The addition of the tomato paste might be part of what makes them so brown and carmelized. *SECRET TIP*)

Once browned all over, remove the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate to drain the excess oil. Let them sit a couple minutes to be sure they are cooked all the way through, and to cool off. 

Then taste one - I did. It was awesome.

Start a new batch immediately - for my 1 oz. meatballs it took three batches.

Blizzard Balls - image 6 - student project

 I paired the meatballs with my favorite tomato sauce and they were great even sans pasta.  

For the sauce I stole a technique I learned from Scott Conant @ Scarpetta. He basically infuses olive oil with flavors then adds the flavored oil to the tomatoes.

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat:

  • pour 1    28 oz. can of whole, peeled tomatoes (whatever kind you like)
  • salt & fresh pepper

Let this begin to simmer, while you start the infused oil.

In a small pan add:

  • a generous 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil (and start this over med-low heat)
  • (If you make a little extra oil you can store it in the fridge)

Add in flavors:

  • as much red  pepper flakes as you like ( I do maybe 1 tsp.)
  • a handful of fresh basil - stems and all - just tear it up
  • smash 3-4 cloves of garlic and throw them in too

Let the oil gently cook for about 10 minute, then take off the heat.

Meanwhile, take a potato smasher and use it to break down the tomatoes. Continue to simmer the tomatoes and keep mashing (for a smoother texture you can use an immersion blender - but the pieces actually break down alot, and a little texture is nice, especially on the meatballs.)

Strain the oil into the tomatoes and keep stirring, eventually it will blend together and emulsify - and if it breaks a little that looks cool too.

That's it.

Pour the sauce over the Blizzard Balls and enjoy. Comfort food at its finest, especially when there's 30 inches of snow outside.

Blizzard Balls - image 7 - student project

Aimee Clark

4th grade teacher by day, foodie always.