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In a skillet over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil, then sauté the onion and Riviera Herbs, stirring well, until the onion is soft and translucent. Grate nutmeg over the pan, mix well, and set aside to cool.
In a bowl or rimmed baking sheet mix the 2 Tbsp of parmesan with a few handfuls of panko.
In a food processor mix the cooked onions with all remaining ingredients and process until well combined, taste and adjust seasoning. Remove blade and start scooping out walnut-sized portions of mix, rolling them into balls and coating them with the panko and cheese mix, then placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Either bake the balls right away (375°F for about 20 minutes), or freeze for later (if baking from frozen add about 10 minutes to the cook time).
• I like prepping them in novel ways, you can mash them flat and pan fry in a skillet (this is a perfect way to quickly cook them from frozen, just microwave them to soften, then pan fry to crisp). It's a great idea to make a double batch and freeze some, this has saved me on more than one occasion when I was struggling to get dinner out quickly for my son Max.
• Or bake them and then add them to a sauce as an alternative to meatballs (try a simple tomato ragu, a white wine cream sauce with more nutmeg, or an almond curry with chunky vegetables and fruit, a bit of Lemon-Sultana Marmalata is perfect for this), or bake then chop and toss with an herbed rice and drizzle with olive oil. And try using Kibbeh N15 instead of Riviera Herbs for an easy vegetarian kofte.
• You can fill the balls; make a dent with your thumb and insert a small cube of cheddar or blue cheese, an anchovy fillet rolled around a caper, or a candied pecan, then roll back into a ball, to make easy hors d’oeuvres.
• Experiment with different vegetables and spices:
- add a bit of broccoli sub feta for the parmesan and use Chios N27
- add shredded beets and walnuts, use an aged gouda for the cheese, and season with Ana N36
- add cooked chickpeas, chopped cashews, and cooked carrots, no cheese, and season with Bombay N3 (you can sub olive oil for butter as well to make this vegan).
- add some finely chopped sautéed mushrooms and season with Pierre N7
You will need to play with proportions a bit (perhaps more or less breadcrumb) depending on how wet your ingredients are, but the sky is the limit!
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue
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