In the days of yore leftovers were, we all assume, a necessity. Necessity turned out to be the mother of culinary invention when it came to making the most of any meat left over from making Brodo (see my previous post). Since the meat in question simmers for at least two hours, more like three, let’s face it: a lot of the juice has simply been leached out of this boiled meat. Which doesn’t mean it can’t be taken to task, and that’s the good news. The meat is magically transformed into tasty meatballs, fried ones at that. And you know me, the Fried Food Fanatic !
Boiled beef, parsely, garlic, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, 1 egg, grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, good quality frying oil (I used Quattroicocchi’s olive oil, a prize winning evoo, because I think these polpette di lesso deserved it). A good oil to deep fry with is groundnut oil. Salt and pepper.
Chop the parsely and garlic. Chop the boiled meat. Dip some bread in the brodo. Add this soggy bread to the bowl containing the meat, parmigiano, parsely and garlic, grated lemonzest, and then add a whole egg. Sprinkle a little salt and white pepper, also some freshly grated nutmeg if you like it (I do). Shape into balls. Coat the balls with breadcrumbs. Deep fry in good quality frying oil. Serve hot. They can be accompanied by Mostarda di Cremona, by ketchup even!, a drop of tabasco, salsa verde, mustard … or just enjoyed on their own!
This is what Mostarda di Cremona looks like … spicey candied fruit in syrup.
These polpette di lesso should not be thought of as merely ‘frugal’ … if anything, they are faux frugal and restaurants in Rome pride themselves on having them on their menu.