Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Basil Meatball Sandwiches with Crunchy Veggie Slaw

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats well on $10/day.

I realize I'm a day late and a dollar short posting this the day after Independence Day and all. But it's still grilling season. Heck, you don't even need to grill these; if it's a rainy day, just bust out a skillet and pretend you did.

These tasty meatballs were meant to be served with the slaw inside the bun. In some families the belief exists (especially among those of a certain gender which shall not here be named, but which slant rhymes with 'bland') that the only vegetable included in a sandwich should be a red one served in the form of a sauce that rhymes with 'getchup'. If this is the case in your family, don't worry, you can man this sandwich up just fine, as Kip has so generously demonstrated in this picture:

(Oh, wait, I see another vegetable in that sandwich as well--one that rhymes with smickle. Perfect.)

One more note on this sandwich (the female version that is). The recipe originally called for carrots with daikon radish, which is a spicy white Asian radish. I had none on hand, but it is one of those weird vegetables that occasionally shows up in CSA baskets and farmer's markets and you (I) wonder what to do with it. So, although you don't need it for this sandwich so desperately that you should hunt it down if you don't have it, this is definitely a great way to use one if you've got one. 

Basil Meatball Sandwiches with Crunchy Veggie Slaw
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine (I think)
Serves 4 (large sandwiches)
Prep and cook time: 15-20 minutes for meat; 10 minutes for slaw, but it should rest an hour
Cost: $3.80 (not including buns here)
(hamburger: 3.00, carrots: .40, celery: .30, other stuff: .10)

1 lb hamburger or ground pork
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp hot chili sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chunky salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)

2 C carrots, grated
1-2 C celery, finely chopped (or grated daikon radish or cabbage or probably any other crunchy vegetable)
1/4 C rice vinegar (didn't have so used white wine vinegar)
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp chunky salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
1 Tbsp Asian sesame oil
16 large cilantro sprigs (didn't have, so didn't use, but think it would have been so awesome)

Note: If you've got pesto, that can be substituted for the basil and garlic--use about 1/4 C pesto)

To make slaw:

Grate carrots and chop celery.

Mix together with vinegar, sugar, salt, and sesame oil. Let sit for 1 hour (I let mine sit covered at room temperature). You might be tempted to skip this resting period, but I have to say that I tasted mine right after I made it and it was so so much better an hour later. 

To make meatballs:

Combine hamburger with everything else. Mash it together and roll it into meatballs that are 1-2 inches across (remember they'll shrink). Cook in skillet until no longer pink in center. 

Serve on buns of some sort with the slaw or whatever other toppings make you and yourn happiest. 

A Word on Waste
If you end up with leftover slaw, don't throw it out. Save it and the next day add some granny smith apples (or another crisp apple) and/or raisins to make a salad out of it. 

1 comment:

  1. We've made the original recipe a number of times and it is DELISH! This was M's father's day dish. I will say, the daikon relish smells terrible while it is marinating but it tastes like heaven, especially paired with the meatballs and spicy mayo that the original recipe recommends.

    (For the record, one daikon radish will last you for months of this recipe. ha ha. Very cheap at the Asian Market, too, I keep telling myself I will make kimchee out of the rest of it but I never get around to it.)



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