We are just eight days away from our first Farmers Market of the season. Visit us Thursday, May 27th from 4-7 at the Nothfield Farmers Market in Northfield, Massachusetts. Just follow the signs through town to get to the church, if you are unfamiliar with the location.
What can you expect in the freezer at the market? Our exact “menu” of items may vary slightly, but we are anticipating having the following meats available: Ground Heritage Pork, Ground Grassfed Belted Galloway, Ground Lamb, Ground Humanely Raised Veal. Also Pre-made Jersey Beef Burger Patties (four to a one pound package) – a great deal at just $5.50 a package. We will have our Maple Syrup Cured Hickory Smoked Heritage Pork Bacon (Thickly Sliced, about ten slices to a pound), Maple Syrup Cured Hickory Smoked Heritage Breed Ham Steaks (also thicker than standard grocery store ham steaks). I will have some of our Rose Veal cuts in the freezer: meat from a humanely raised milk and local grass fed young bovine who had access to a spacious box stall and sunlight, and lived a happy life with one-on-one human attention. We have Veal Chuck Steak, Veal Osso Buco (shank cuts) and many others. I’ll bring an assortment.
Actually, on the first market at Northfield, I will not be there at all, rather my husband will be there tending the booth for me. So, take out your cookbooks, and try some new dishes using locally and sustainably raised meats that you can pick out of our freezer next Thursday in Northfield. You can start preparing the following recipe for Veal and Ricotta Meatballs on Wednesday next week (drain the Ricotta) and then prepare the rest of the dish when you get the ground veal on Thursday.
Veal and Ricotta Meatballs
Time: 3 1/4 hours, plus 1 hour chilling and overnight draining of ricotta
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 pound ground veal (very finely ground), chilled
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon salt, or as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg, as needed
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup flour, or as needed
4 cups mild tomato sauce.
1. Wrap ricotta in cheesecloth a day before serving and place in a sieve set over a bowl. Weight cheese, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Cheese should then have consistency of tofu.)
2. The next day, combine all ingredients except oil, flour and sauce in a bowl and mix with hands until completely smooth, pale and homogenized, about 4 minutes. Test seasoning by frying a bit in hot oil. It should taste assertively salty (braising in sauce tames seasoning); adjust salt if needed. Cover and chill before shaping into meatballs.
3. Dust a baking sheet and your hands with flour. Keep remaining flour nearby in bowl. Gently form meat into nine balls. Place on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
4. Place about 1 1/2 inches oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, fry meatballs, moving them as little as possible. When bottoms are golden brown, after about 2 minutes, gently turn them. Fry until uniformly brown on all sides. Meanwhile, heat sauce in pot over medium-low heat and when meatballs are done, remove from oil with slotted spoon and add to sauce.
5. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 30 minutes; they can remain in the sauce for hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be refrigerated overnight, and gently reheated. Serve meatballs in sauce alone, or over pasta, with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano passed separately.
Yield: 4 servings.