Happy baseball season everyone! I've been busy as always with work and school, and now sports! We've been enjoying the hell out of watching our Cleveland Cavs kick everyone's butt, and now it's baseball season!
The home opener was yesterday and Cleveland was one crazy place! The people in our city LOVE baseball season. We didn't have tickets to the home opener, but we still went downtown to hang out, as MANY others did, just to find a good place to watch the game and just feel the vibe. It was a lot of fun. Oh, and it was nice to finally meet you, Mel!
Today Mark and I went to the Indians game and although they didn't win, we had a great time. We then finally got a chance to check out Melt, a small bar/restaurant in Lakewood, a suburb of Cleveland, and let me tell you... it was amazing. These people have a gold mine on their hands. They make about 20 different varieties of the grilled cheese sandwich served with fresh cut fries and a fresh, crisp and spicy cole slaw serving as a side dish and a palate cleanser. Who doesn't like grilled cheese? Especially with things like chorizo, potato, and egg crammed into the sandwich with that cheese! Yum! We will definitely be back.
So now I'm just kickin' back and relaxing before Easter tomorrow, in which Mark will be making the ham and I will be making mini cheesecakes. So while I take it easy, I thought I'd share one of the latest dishes I've made that I really enjoyed.
One of the most unique things that I've ever eaten was in China Town in NYC. Fish Ball Soup. Sounds pretty funny, right? I know... but that's what it's called. Now try your best to keep your mind out of the gutter for a few minutes here.
Fish Ball Soup is a broth-based soup with balls made of flaked fish, egg whites, flour, water, and seasoning. The fish balls have a sort of spongy texture; they're very delicate. They have a rich fish flavor; they're really very good. It's a fun and interesting way to eat fish. Like I said, they're very unique and that's one thing I love... unique food.
Anyway, ever since I had these that day, I've been wanting to recreate them at home. Then I remembered that I had seen a similar recipe in Andrew Carmellini's cookbook, "Urban Italian". Again, a GREAT cookbook. His version is called Shrimp Meatballs and they're made with shrimp, scallops, onions, and tiny pieces of chorizo. I like his version much better because of the texture the chorizo brings to the dish, as well as the flavor. These can be served as an appetizer with grilled bread for dipping into the broth, or paired with noodles. Mark had a great idea for the leftovers: use them to make a lobster-roll-style sandwich with a spicy sauce.
This recipe should be made in two stages. The first stage is to put the shrimp and scallop mixture together, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cool it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. The second stage is to remove the bowl from the refrigerator the next day, form the mixture into balls about the size of golf balls, then make the broth and essentially steam the shrimp meatballs in the broth until done. These meatballs have the same spongy texture as the fish balls do. I found the flavor to be addicting. Then the broth... oh the broth is fantastic. You couldn't make enough grilled bread to dip into it, it's so good.
If you'd like the recipe for this dish, pick up the Urban Italian cookbook... it's on page 62.
Here's a quick rundown of how they're made:
Start by sweating the chorizo in a saute pan for a couple minutes, then add the onions. Sweat the onions and chorizo over low heat until the onions are tender. Add the red pepper flakes and cook a little longer. Pour the mixture onto a plate and chill it in the fridge.
Next, put the raw scallops into a food processor.
Add the cream and blend into a smooth paste. It will look like melted ice cream. Add the egg yolk and blend together.
Turn the mixture into a bowl and add parsley, chives, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and lemon zest.
Dice up some raw shrimp and blot it with a paper towel to remove any moisture. Add them to the scallop mixture. Once the chorizo and onions have cooled, add them to the mixture as well. Mix everything together thoroughly, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. This ensures the shrimp mixture will be cold enough to handle and shape into balls without falling apart.
When the shrimp mixture has cooled for at least a few hours or over-night, take them out of the fridge and immediately form them into golf ball sized meatballs.
To make the broth, warm some butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add red pepper flake, garlic (sliced "Goodfellas thin" as described in the cook book), and bay leaves.
Cook for a few seconds moving the garlic around so it doesn't burn. Once the aroma of the garlic comes up, add white wine and turn the heat up to high. Once the wine has evaporated, leaving only olive oil and butter, add the clam juice, then immediately place the shrimp meatballs into the into the pan in one layer.
Let the liquid come up to a simmer, then cover the pan and steam the meatballs for 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over, then cover the pan again and steam them for another 3 minutes or so. Serve the shrimp meatballs in a bowl, pouring the broth over top.
Get the cookbook and give it a try!