Meatballs is a delicious dish that is both satisfying and versatile. Meatballs can be eaten by themselves, on a sandwich, or with pasta, to name a few. In addition to their versatility, meatballs are relatively simple to make. The two most common ways to make meatballs (Italian meatballs) are baking and frying. Baking is a littler more forgiving because there is less of a risk of burning and of serving greasy meatballs. However, frying meatballs can give them a nice crust that cannot be achieved by baking. As such, frying, in my opinion, produces a tastier meatball. With that in mind, here are some tips to remember when frying meatballs so that they come develop a nice crust, stay moist, and not become greasy:
Use a High Temperature Oil
Olive oil is very common in Italian cuisine, but it is not a good oil with which to fry. Olive oil has a low smoke point (which means is smokes a lower temperature than other oils) and as such, will need to be changed more often and can develop some pretty terrible flavors if it reaches too high a temperature. As such, your best bet is vegetable oil, sunflower oil, or peanut oil. (If you have any peanut allergies, it is best to stay away from peanut oil). Although these other oils do not have the wonderful flavor of olive oil, your meatballs will cook better with these other oils.
Do Not Crowd Your Cooking Vessel
A common mistake made by home cooks is that they crowd their pan when trying to fry. Putting too much food into your pan will drop the temperature of your oil. When your oil temperature drops too low, your run the risk of producing greasy food. Greasy food occurs when the oil in the pan is not hot enough to turn the water inside your food into steam. As such, oil seeps into your food and stays there. However, when the oil in your pan is hot enough to turn the water inside your food into steam, the steam escaping from your food pushes out and thus prevents oil from seeping in. Therefore, your food does not become greasy. This is known as a “dry fry.” If you want to produce a “dry fry,” space your food out and only do small batches at a time. This way, your oil temperature will not drop below the “greasy point.”
Do Not Put Too Much Oil in Your Cooking Vessel
Another common mistake with home cooks is that they use too much oil in the pan. When you put food into your pan, the oil level will rise. As such, too much oil in your pan can cause an overflow. Hot oil falling onto your cook top and possible onto you is always a bad situation. Therefore, make sure that the oil in your pan does not pass the halfway point. By keeping the oil level in your cooking vessel at or below the halfway point, you can almost guarantee that the pan will not overflow.
Do Not Put the Meatballs Into the Oil Until it is Hot
As stated above, frying food in oil that is not hot enough will produce greasy food. As such, make sure the oil is hot enough before you try to fry. You can test the temperature of the oil by sprinkling a tiny bit of bread crumbs into the oil to see if they start to immediately bubble and fry. Additionally, oil that is ready will look wispy and thin in your pan. Use this test and look for these signs before you start frying.
Follow these tips and you can produce mouthwatering meatballs that you, your friends, and your family will love.