Give the barbie a break from the steaks - max out that grill with mouth-watering meatballs. Make sure the mince you buy is not too lean or the meatballs may dry out on the barbecue. Pair the skewers with a sensational salad.
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fennel seeds
300g pork mince
50g prosciutto, finely chopped
100g pecorino cheese, finely grated
50g day-old breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 tbsp chopped oregano
2 eggs, beaten
8 bamboo skewers (soaked for an hour)
16 fresh bay leaves
chilli flakes (optional)
HEAT 1 TBSP OLIVE OIL in a saucepan over a low heat. Cook onion and garlic with 1/2 tsp salt until the onion has softened. Remove and cool.
TOAST FENNEL SEEDS in a dry pan on a medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Finely zest the lemon, reserve the fruit.
SLAP THE MINCE against the side of a mixing bowl for 3-5 minutes, until the meat is sticky. This helps the meatballs to hold together well. Combine pork mince with cooked onion and garlic, fennel seeds, zest, prosciutto, pecorino, breadcrumbs and herbs, then season with pepper. Finally, mix in the beaten eggs.
USING YOUR HANDS, divide the mixture and form into balls about the size of a golf ball, then flatten them slightly. You should get about 24 meatballs.
SKEWER THE MEATBALLS, alternating with fresh bay leaves, so that each skewer has three meatballs and two bay leaves.
MAKE A BASTING SAUCE by whisking together the remaining 3 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp juice from the zested lemon, chilli flakes (if using) and season to taste.
PREHEAT THE BARBECUE (ensure it's clean and well oiled) on a medium-low heat. Brush basting sauce onto the skewers and place on barbecue. Cook, turning and basting further, for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.
REMOVE FROM HEAT and serve.
I like to sprinkle the Japanese spice mix shichimi togarashi on the meatballs, either with or instead of chilli flakes. Sure, it's cross-cultural, but the complicity is lovely.