Magic Sauce Meatball Sandwich
Two days after the grilled-meat gorgefest known as a Fourth of July barbecue, I'm still nursing a cow-sized protein hangover, but I don't regret a single bite. In fact, I was thinking about food even as I lay prone on the sofa, bloated and vowing never to eat again. Though it may confirm me as a glutton, the truth can not be denied: I have food on the brain, even when I also have a lot of it in my belly!
So what was I pondering in my ponderous state?
Since discovering the wonderful world of food blogs, I have quickly accumulated an enormous catalog of recipes from so many creative cooks. Each 'save' command and every comment of "I can't wait to try this!" were accompanied by the most sincere intentions of making these dishes. Now, it's time to finally turn sincere intent into edible action.
Therefore, with a still-distended stomach but a determined spirit, I present the first of what I hope will become a regular feature of this blog: Food by Friends, spotlighting favorite bloggers' dishes that caught my eye and whetted my appetite. I suspect that for every recipe made, at least another two or three will replace it, and there is no guarantee that you'll find my recreations as appealing as the originals, but it will be fun trying!
For this inaugural post, I turned to Scott at ScottySnacks, my co-host (along with Jennifer at Savor The Thyme) of our July Ice Cream Social contest. Although it may smack of favoritism, it's really more a case of 'snack on favorites' - Scott's blog covers all that is tasty and healthy about noshing, which in SnackLand ranges from Mango Tango Smoothies to Clarified Butter Sugar Cookies and Tequila Lime Pork Loin.
However, as delicious as these sound, there was one recipe whose name can not be ignored: Magic Sauce. This effortless recipe of just 4 ingredients yields sensational flavor that goes well on everything from roasted vegetables to grilled meats; I first used it on lightly pan-fried tilapia, adding a sweet bite to the delicate fish. This time, I decided to get a bit more meaty: a meatball sandwich, to be precise.
Now, a little Magic Sauce goes a long way but it's so delicious that I wasn't content to just spoon it over the meatballs. Oh, no - those orbs of beefiness called for full saturation! Imagining a gush of rich piquancy with every bite, I added a chunk of chilled Magic Sauce to the center of each meatball; unfortunately, the actuality of this delectable concept fell a wee bit short as the sauce was absorbed into the mixture as it cooked. Still, that bewitching flavor was preserved and judging by the gusto with which Mr. Noodle polished off his sandwich, I consider my attempt a success.
Try it for yourself - visit Scott's blog for the recipe and check out his other delicious treats. Then, in ScottySnacks syntax, "Go snack you some!"
[Disclosure: I made these sandwiches before the Fourth of July, in case you're wondering how I could possibly eat even more meat!]
Magic Sauce Meatball Sandwich
Taking a cue from the main ingredients in Magic Sauce, I emphasized a south-of-the-border spin on the classic Italian meatball sandwich by seasoning the meat mixture with ground chipotle pepper, topping it with pico de gallo (a deconstructed marinara sauce, if you will) and using bolillo rolls in place of Italian bread.
Magic Sauce by Brooks Bayne
Combine ingredients and transfer to a container. Refrigerate until sauce is well-chilled and firm.
(Please feel free to use your favorite meatball recipe!)
Yields approx 12-15 meatballs
1 lb ground round*
1/4 cup regular breadcrumbs
1 tsp crushed garlic paste (about 2 cloves, minced or 2 tsps garlic powder)
2 Tbsps fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 cup onions, finely minced
1 Tbsp ground chipotle pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup panko
*The absorbed Magic Sauce resulted in quite juicy meatballs so next time, I will use leaner ground beef.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.
1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except panko and mix well, using your hands;
2. Scoop out enough mixture to form 1.5" meatball (about 2 Tbsps) then flatten it out on the palm of your hand. Place 1/2 tsp of chilled Magic Sauce in the center then carefully roll up the meat to form a ball again.
3. Roll meatball in panko and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining meat mixture;
4. Bake in the oven at 400°F for 15-20 minutes (use the shorter cooking time if you prefer meatballs with a bit pink);
5. When done, remove meatballs from oven and immediately assemble your sandwich!
I played around with the bolillo rolls, slicing one down the center for the classic 'clamshell' look then scooping out the middle of another for a 'boat' effect! I topped it with fresh pico de gallo made with Vidalia onions, plum tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, chili pepper and a sprinkle of salt.
How would you put your meatball sandwich together?