A few weeks ago when Michael and I were visiting New York, we splurged one evening and ate at Gramercy Tavern. It’s consistently on all the top restaurant lists and is my all time favorite.
Michael ordered the world’s poshest meatball. This lone giant comes stuffed with fontina cheese, perched atop pureed potatoes. I must admit it was really, really tasty.
What I found funny was that he swears to hate meatloaf, and yet that’s what this dish suggested to me. A diner dinner done fancy. I left thinking I would attempt my own interpretation of a giant meatball (mini-meatloaf) when I returned home.
What better time to fulfill that promise to myself than now, in honor of National Meatloaf Appreciation Day!
Tonight I put together a homier version of the dish that was not quite as fine, but almost! And for a lot less than $20 per meatball.
I started with a basic recipe for meatloaf that used one pound of ground beef. This is enough for four large meatballs. I cut a hunk of fontina cheese into four 3/4 inch cubes. To avoid having the cheese seep out, I wrapped each cube in a clean, dry spinach leaf. At the restaurant there was some sort of green used for this purpose, but theirs was much neater. Looking back, maybe cooking the spinach a bit could have made this go smoother. And don’t use the baby kind, it’s not large enough. People eat too much of that bagged baby spinach, but that’s another topic…
I wrapped the meatloaf around the cheesy package and created four balls, somewhere in between a golf ball and a baseball. I sauteed them on all sides in a pan and finished them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. I used that time to sautee some onions in the same pan and reduce some beef stock for the gravy.
Voila! Fontina-stuffed giant meatball, or mini-meatloaf, depending on who you’re trying to please.
If I were to do this again I think I might try smaller meatballs and not worry about the spinach. Perhaps someone whose done stuffed meatballs before could tell me whether the cheese seeps out?