I’ll never forget the time I went to a restaurant with Marco and his parents many years ago, early on in our relationship. I didn’t speak Italian well, so, much of the conversation was lost on me. Marco must have told me something about the “delicacy” that they were about to order. I don’t remember those details. . . but I do recall my disgust when I saw the basket of deep-fried whole frogs arrive at our table, lying, piled high, with arms and legs flailing out and their little eyes peering up out of the plate. I took one look and, honestly, got up and left the table for the bathroom!
Italians, and many Europeans, eat diverse varieties of animals that many Americans find offensive. It’s one thing that I still haven’t gotten used to. Marco gnawing on the small bones of the frog’s legs is still something that just creeps me out. I’m a little more used to the times that his mother makes him rabbit and polenta. She cooks me some chicken to eat instead. She doesn’t cook horse meat that often, but I do remember the time I ate it and thought it was cow. (She snuck that one in!) I have come to realize that it isn’t the taste of any of these meats that is the problem. . . the problem is the thought of eating these creatures. I swear, if we thought about any of this too long, we would all become vegetarians!!!
The meat in the plate up there on the right is ground leftover meat. Some of it is from a pork roast with garlic and thyme. Some of it is from chicken piccata (from the Italian word “picchiare“, to pound). We save the leftovers in the freezer until we have enough to make polpette. It’s a great way to use leftovers and one of our favorite comfort food meals!
First, mix the ingredients together:
Then, shape the mixture into balls:
Coat with more breadcrumbs:
Here they are, ready to be pan-fried:
Here they are cooked:
Serve them with your favorite side and some wine:
- ground meat – we do it in the food processor
- bread crumbs
- grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- oil for frying
- mix all the ingredients together until the texture is right for shaping into balls
- coat with bread crumbs
- heat oil in frying pan until hot and add the balls to fry until browned (about 2-3 minutes each side)