Working backwards from this weeks dinner menus I must begin with one of my favorite shrimp dishes, rich and creamy and served with a little pasta or just a good loaf of bread to sop up the juices…
Adapted from an Andrew Carmellini recipe where I always picture having nothing but a gloppy mess after adding pricy shrimp and scallops, but always surprised and amazed when the meatballs come out just right. I really can’t change anything in the recipe as it will affect the outcome of the meatballs so I’m posting the recipe as I copied it several years ago.
Makes about 30 meatballs; serves 5 to 7 as antipasti, but 3 is quite enough for me
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
1/2 cup diced dried chorizo, about 1/2 sausage
1 small onion chopped about 1/2 cup
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 pound scallops, about two cups
3/4 cup cream
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
zest of one lemon
one pound shrimp, diced
To prepare the meatball mixture:
1. Sweat the chorizo in a dry pan over medium heat to release its oil. When there is a fair amount of red oil in the pan, add the onion, reduce the heat to low, and sweat the onion until its soft and colored by the oil. Add the red pepper flakes and continue cooking on low heat about another minute to combine the flavors. Put the mixture on a flat plate in the fridge to cool–about 15 minutes.
2. Put scallops in food processor. Add the cream and blend into a smooth paste. Add the egg yolk and blend together. The result should look like a very wet pasta dough, or melted ice cream. Turn the mixture into a bowl and add the parsley, chives, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and lemon zest.
3. Blot the diced shrimp well with a cloth or paper towel to make sure that they are as dry as possible (excess moisture will make your meatballs fall apart). Add them to scallop mixture.
4. When the chorizo mixture has cooled completely, add it to the scallop-shrimp mixture and mix everything together well with your hands. The mix should be sticky, like tacky spackling. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge to cool for at least one hour. It’s very important to make sure the mixture is cold, so that you can work with it effectively, I mixed the ingredients early and refrigerated for at least 6 hours, but you can refrigerate up to 24 hours
TO PREPARE THE MEATBALLS AND SAUCE
For the sauce:
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, sliced “Goodfella” thin
3 bay leaves (preferable fresh, dry will do fine)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup clam juice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Optional: Toasted bread for dipping into extra sauce
1. Remove the mixture from the fridge and begin rolling meatballs immediately. For each meatball, roll a heaping tablespoon sized chunk of the mixture between both hands until it forms a tight ball (You can make it bigger or smaller if you prefer: just remember to adjust cooking time)
2. Over medium heat, warm the butter and evoo in a large saute pan (Pick a pan big enough to fit all the meatballs at once). When butter starts to melt, add the red pepper flakes, garlic and bay leaves. Cook for a few seconds, shaking pan to keep garlic from burning.
3. When aroma of garlic comes up, add the white wine and turn the heat up to high. WHen the wine evaporates completely, leaving only EVOO and butter bubbling in pan, add the clam juice, then immediately place the meatballs in th pan by hand, one by one. Its easiest if you can cook them all in one batch, don’t worry if the balls are close together or even touching )
4. Let the liquid come up to a simmer, then cover the pan and lower the heat to medium. Cook the balls for two minutes at a low bubble. Remove the lid, turn the balls over with a spoon, and then cover and continue cooking for about 2 1/2 more minutes. The meatballs are done when they have some bounce to them when you poke them with a finger. When you bite into them, they should be cooked through, and you should get a bit of that bounce between your teeth.
5. Remove pan from heat and add the parsley. Serve immediately in a large bowl, covered with sauce. Be sure to put toasted bread on the table for dipping in the extra sauce.
Author: Andrew Carmellini