Alton Brown's baked meatballs is one of those rare recipes that needed little modification. Understand that I don't usually modify a recipe to correct flaws, but to convert to a large quantity format or to Dutch ovens.
I prepared a double recipe Friday afternoon for the annual Christmas social of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation. I weighted meat to ensure that I was working with AB's portions. And since I could only find 8/10th-pound ground lamb at the supermarket, I compensated with additional ground round.
Only one modification seemed in order. AB bakes his meatballs in a mini-muffin pan to ensure "even distribution" in the pan.
According the GoodEatsFanPage.com transcript:
This means that we will have even and rapid heating. But the real secret to this method is in making sure that the meatballs are just a little bit bigger than the cups. That way, they'll actually be suspended above the bottoms, okay? That means that they will keep their nice round shape, and any moisture will run off into the bottom of the cups, away from the orbs.("Great Balls of Meat" episode, Good Eats.)Okay, AB. First, I don't have any mini-miffin tins. Not do I intend to buy something that I won't use. My only option was to use a baking sheet.
A standard half-sized sheet pan (13- by 18-inch) worked just fine for me. Since the meatballs didn't exude an excessive amount of fat and moisture, I don't see this as an issue.
I used a No. 24 disher to scoop out the meatballs. A lightly-packed scoop will give you a meatball that weighs
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground round
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 whole egg
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumb, divided
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, lamb, ground round, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Using hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated, but do not overmix or meatballs will be tough. Refrigerate overnight.
Place remaining 1/4 cup of bread in a small bowl. Weigh meatballs into 1.5-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using hands, shape meatballs into rounds, roll in bread crumbs and place balls on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
The recipe makes 20 meatballs. Three meatballs per person leaves 2 extra for the cook!