An authentic Italian recipe from our kitchen to yours.
– 1 1/2 pounds whiting fillets (or other tender white fish), scaled and deboned
– 1 cup bread crumbs
– 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
– 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/4 cup parsley leaves, cleaned and minced
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
– Salt and pepper
– All purpose flour for dredging
– Oil for frying such as canola or peanut
– 1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving
1. Add a generous amount of oil to a heavy pot and fill about 2 1/2 to 3 inches from the bottom. Heat the oil over medium heat as you prepare the fish meatballs.
2. Either mince the whiting fillets or place them into a food processor and pulse about 4 times or until the fish is evenly minced into fine pieces.
3. Place the minced fish into a mixing bowl along with the bread crumbs, lemon zest, nutmeg, minced parsley, eggs, Parmigiano and a pinch of salt and pepper.
4. Using a heavy spoon or your hands, mix all ingredients well until you achieve a uniform mixture. It should come together easily in your hand when you roll it into a ball. If the mixture is too dry or crumbly, add a bit of water and mix it in well. If the mixture is too wet, add a few tablespoons of bread crumbs and/or Parmigiano and mix it in well.
5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and add about 2 cups of flour to a baking dish.
6. Proceed to form the fish mixture into your desired shape. For antipasto-sized meatballs, form a small ball using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture. For a more substantial portion, form the mixture into small loaves or patties using roughly 2 generous tablespoons or 1/4 cup of the mixture for each formed portion.
7. Dredge the formed mixture through the flour, coating it evenly on all sides. Then place the floured meatball onto the prepared cookie sheet. Continue this process until you have used all of the fish mixture.
8. To fry the meatballs, line another cookie sheet or large plate with several layers of paper towels in order to drain the oil after frying.
9. Gently drop the meatballs into the hot oil in batches being sure not to crowd the pot. Fry the meatballs on all sides until they are golden brown. Depending on their size, this can take between 2 and 5 minutes.
10. When the meatballs are finished frying, strain them from the oil and place them on the paper towels to drain.
11. Continue frying the meatballs in small batches until they are all fried.
12. Place the finished meatballs on a serving platter and garnish with the lemon wedges. Serve immediately.
If you prefer to avoid frying, these meatballs can also be baked in the oven. Instead of dredging the meatballs through the flour, once they have been shaped, place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the meatballs at 425 degrees on the center rack of the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven once they are golden brown and serve immediately with lemon wedges.