Thursday, 6 December 2012

Turning Over a New Leaf

Piccolo Polpettino alla Salvia con Pastinaca Arrosto
Mini Sage-Wrapped Meatloaf with Roasted Parsnip

Well, my favorite leaf this week is plainly sage- as you can see again in this dish. I just love its pungent and fragrant aroma and the way it works so well with so many different ingredients. And being as I happened to buy a rather too-large bunch of it on Saturday... well it seemed an awful shame to let it go to waste, when I would much rather be experimenting with it in a few new recipes!

One of the other great things about sage, is the way that the leaves become nice and crispy when you fry or roast them... and taste even better when they crunch! Yum! So I came up with this idea to turn what would have been a boring quarter-pounder hamburger, into a miniature masterpiece of a meat loaf! I think it will have to be a full-scale one next time- it was soooo delicious!

The meat I used was a mix of beef and pork, and I combined the quarter pound of meat with 1 egg, 3-4 tablespoons of bread crumbs, 2 Spring onions finely chopped, half of a red pepper finely chopped, a handful each of finely chopped mint and parsley, a handful of crumbled Feta cheese and a crushed clove of garlic. I mixed all of these ingredients really well, kneading them with my hands until they became a smooth, compact mass. I then laid out the sage leaves, fanned-out from the center and pressed them gently into the meat pattie- then I flipped it over and dropped it into a small baking dish and pressed it firmly into shape. Then into a hot oven it went for around 20 minutes, whilst I prepared the parsnip...

I cut the parsnip into thin slices and steamed it for 10 minutes until it became translucent and was almost tender- with just a little bite left to it. I then drizzled it with just a little olive oil and sprinkled it with salt, pepper and a hint of sugar. And at that point I fetched the meat loaf out again and gave it a very light drizzle of honey, before returning both to the oven to finish baking for a further 10 minutes. And then of course the obligatory 2-3 minutes of broiler to give that crispiness!

A simple affair- but with good flavors and clever combinations, this simple, luxury-meatball became a super suppertime treat! And as I already mentioned... next time it will be a full-sized loaf! Yum, yum, yum!

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