Friday, March 16, 2012

Jamie Oliver's Meat(fish)balls

The only small change I had was to use Mahi Mahi instead of swordfish or tuna, and also added in a can of canned tuna which, I promise, did not ruin this recipe in the slightest.  This recipe is slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver's "Best Tuna Meatballs."


For the tomato sauce

olive oil

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 x 400g tins of good-quality plum tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar
a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped

For the meat(fish)balls

1 lb. of sustainably sourced tuna, swordfish, or mahi mahi
olive oil
2 oz of rough-chopped pinenuts
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano (start with this, add more to sauce if you want later)
a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3-4 ozstale breadcrumbs
2 ozfreshly grated Parmesan
2 eggs
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 can of tuna (optional if you have less fresh fish on hand and have to mix together)


Make the tomato sauce first.  Place a large pan on medium heat, add a good amount of olive oil, onion and garlic and fry slowly for 10 or so minutes until soft. Add oregano, tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, then liquidize until smooth (with either an immersion blender or...I used a potato masher. Don't judge).  Make sure to taste it – it might need a tiny splash of red wine vinegar or some extra seasoning.

While the tomatoes are simmering, chop the fish into 1 inch dice. Pour a good couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan and place on medium-high heat. Add the fish to the pan with the pinenuts and cinnamon. Season lightly with salt and pepper and fry for a minute or so to cook the fish on all sides and toast the pinenuts. Remove from the heat and put the mixture into a bowl. Allow to cool down for 5 minutes, then add the oregano, parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, lemon zest and juice to the bowl (and a can of fish if you choose to use it here). Using your hands, really scrunch and mix the flavors into the tuna, then divide the mixture and squeeze it into meatballs slightly smaller than a golf ball. If you dip one of your hands in water while shaping you’ll get a nice smooth surface on the meatball. If the mixture’s very sticky, add a few more breadcrumbs. Keep the meatballs around the same size and place them on an oiled tray, then put them in the fridge for an hour to let them rest.

Put the pan you fried the fish in back on the heat with a little olive oil. Add meatballs to the pan and jiggle them about until they’re golden brown all over. You might want to do them in batches – when they’re done, add them to the tomato sauce and cook on low for about five to ten minutes, just to warm everything up together (be careful not to burn!) then divide between your plates, sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with good olive oil. Great served with spaghetti or linguine, or crusty rolls of bread to make meatball sandwiches.