Alba Pezone's dish looked so appealing and it's unusual ingredients made it extremely original and somehow very exotic. I had to test this Italian cookery school (Parole In Cucina, Paris) founder and gastronomical journalist's exceptional recipe!
Her grandmother's "Sweet And Savory Meatballs" or "Polpettine Dolci" date back to the time of the Medici reign (see infos), during the Renaissance, when the Napolitan people used to eat many sweet and savory dishes.Traditionally, it was always prepared for Easter and many different versions exist.
First of all, those dainty little "Sweet And Savory Italian Meatballs" look gorgeous and very attractive on a buffet table, when served as an apperitive/starter course. Then, it is to be said that they don't taste bad either! They do tend to create a surprise the first time you bite in one of them, because their flavor is so singular. With every mouthful, you have the impression that you are eating Panettone as accompaniment to beef. A very bizarre, but pleasant sensation! The candied citrus peels really add an unexpected candy taste that is very amazing. For some it might be very odd, but for others like me who love to discover new horizons, it is really enchanting...
A real culinary discovery!
~ Sweet And Savory Italian Meatballs (Polpettine Dolci) ~
Recipe by Alba Pezone, "Elle A Table" N°49, Mars Avril 2007 and adapted by Rosa @ Rosa's Yummy Yums.
300g Ground beef
100g Stale bread (the soft interior only)
1 Egg yolk
6 Tbs Freshly grated Parmesan
2 Clove garlic, very finely chopped
25g Pine nuts, roasted
50g Candied citrus fruit peels (lemon, orange, lime), very finely chopped
Peanut oil, for deep-frying
1. In two different bowls, soak both the raisins and the stale bread in water for about 30 minutes.
2. Squeeze the bread in order to let out the excess water. Then, crumble it finely.
3. Strain the raisins.
4. In a big bowl, mix together the ground meat, crumbled bread, egg yolk, parmesan, garlic, candied fruits, raisins and pine nuts.
5. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Mix and knead all the ingredients thouroughly with your hands.
7. Shape into walnut-sized meatballs.
8. Heat the oil in a deep enough pan.
9. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the meatballs, a batch at a time and until golden brown on all sides (3-4 minutes).
10. Drain meatballs on paper towels and transfer them to a platter.
11. Reserve in the oven at 100° C (200° F).
12. Prick with toothpicks and serve.
The original recipes asks for 4 tablespoons parmesan and 2 tablespoons pecorino cheese.
Be sure to shape your meatballs well (homogenously), otherwise they'll burst open while frying.
To decorate, you can also use flat parsley leaves that you place on top of each meatball before you prick them with the toothpicks.
The meatballs can be eaten warm or at room temperature and kept in the refrigerator (in a box) up to two days.
Serve the meatballs as an apperitive/starter course, alone or with a fennel salad/carpaccio.