Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Marvelous Meatballs...On a Bun!

Good evening everyone!  If you live in the Des Moines metro (or anywhere in the Midwest,) hopefully you haven't melted yet.  Today was the second straight day of over 90 degree temperatures, with heat indexes reaching beyond that.  It seems like the perfect night to stay in and cook!  Tonight I'm creating a great summertime dish; one that won't weigh down your stomach, yet packs all the flavor of a recipe that would take all evening to cook.

The Recipe:  Italian Meatball Sliders
Original Recipe Found In:  Cooking Light, July 2012

What You'll Need:
1/4 Cup Panko
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced fresh Basil
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
12 Ounces Ground Sirloin
1 Large Egg
1 Garlic clove, minced
12 Water Rolls, halved lengthwise
4 Ounces fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cut crosswise into 12 thin slices
1 Cup lower-sodium Marinara Sauce
12 fresh Basil leaves (optional)

To start, preheat an oven's broiler to high and set a broiler pan aside.  While the oven preheats, gently combine the panko, minced basil, salt, sirloin, egg, and garlic in a large bowl, making sure that this mixture doesn't not over mix.  Divide the combination into 24 equal portions, ensuring that each portion is gently shaped into a meatball, and not packed into a meatball shape.  This will help keep the meatballs moist and not completely dried out.  Arrange the water rolls, cut side up, on the broiler pan and broil until they are very lightly toasted, about 30 seconds.  Set these rolls aside.

Meatballs ready for the hopper...er, broiler

Next, spray the broiler pan with cooking spray and arrange the meatballs on the pan.  Broil the meatballs until they are cooked and browned, about three minutes.  Take the meatballs out of the oven and flip them over.  Once back in the oven, broil for another two minutes, or until a desired doneness.  Take the meatballs out and begin assembling the sliders.  Arrange two meatballs on the bottom half of each roll and top each slider with a slice of cheese.  Broil these partially made sliders in the oven again for one minute or until the cheese melts.  Take out of the oven and set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, pour the marinara sauce in, cover, and heat the sauce for one and a half minutes, or until the sauce is heated through.  Once the sauce is heated, gently spoon the sauce over the each of the sliders and top with a basil leaf (if so desired) and one bun top.  Serve and enjoy!

The End Result:

These sliders were tasty little numbers!  The meatballs were perfectly cooked and were super moist, not dried out.  The panko, basil, and garlic gave the meat a wonderful flavor that will definitely need to be tried outside of the slider realm.  The marinara sauce gave the sliders the perfect zing without it being too overpowering.  The mozzarella topped the entire sandwich off with a nice meltyness, that didn't leave it too oozy-gooey.  Overall, a great, easy dish to whip up any night of the week.

Check back tomorrow as Tyler takes to the kitchen with one of his favorite flavors playing a main role. Until then,


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