When our friend Jill came to New York from Oregon to visit us a few weeks ago, we took her on a (mini) food tour of New York. She is 14 weeks pregnant, so no drinking for her!! Instead, we did our best to fit in some good eats in the short time that she was here. In the middle of a day of shopping, we stopped at Momofuku Milk Bar in the East Village for some Cereal Milk Ice Cream, got brunch another morning at Clinton Street Bakery (gahh Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes w/ Maple Butter), and went to lunch at The Meatball Shop.
The Meatball Shop opened within the last few months, and I hadn’t been yet. But my friend Sam, a native New Yorker turned Berliner, told me she heard great things about it (even in Germany she’s the first to know all the great stuff in NY), so I decided to go, and I’M SO GLAD I DID. Wow wow. These meatballs were uncomprehensively moist, I don’t know how they do it. I would love to get my hands on their recipe.
Well I couldn’t find that, but eating there inspired me to find my own meatball recipe. The ones I had at The Meatball Shop were beef, but I went with a bit of a healthier chicken meatball.
Baked Chicken Meatballs
Adapted from Gourmet
3 slices Italian bread, torn into small bits (1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 ounces sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided*
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about four minutes.
Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic in one tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes. Cool slightly.
Squeeze bread to remove excess milk, then discard milk. Lightly beat egg in a large bowl, then combine with chicken, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, pancetta mixture, bread, and parsley. Form 12 meatballs and arrange in another 4-sided sheet pan or roasting dish.
Stir together remaining tablespoons of tomato paste and oil and brush over meatballs , then bake in upper third of oven until meatballs are just cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.