Scrap fish meat was flaked, mixed with vegetables, egg, breadcrumbs, nuts and oats, formed into balls, fried, smothered with thick tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese. What’s not to love about fishballs a la Parmigiana?
It’s just like meatballs a la Parmigiana except that there’s fish meat instead of ground pork and beef.
But… scrap fish meat? Of course, you can use just about any flaked cooked fish. Even canned tuna will work. But I used scrap fish meat because I did not want to throw it away. If we still had Pepper, I would have given it all to her. But she died of old age not so long ago…
Oh, we miss Pepper. We enjoyed her company for over a decade and it was a sad day when she had to be put to sleep to ease her pain. There was nothing more to be done, the vet said. Can’t fight old age. Ah, but that’s another story altogether… Back to fishballs a la Parmigiana.
We had fish and chips a couple of days ago. I filleted a huge fish and there was still a lot of meat attached to the bones. I dropped the meaty bones into boiling water and left them there for 10 minutes. I drained the bones, wrapped them up and kept them in the fridge.
Today, I took the cooked fish out of the fridge, flaked the meat, added chopped vegetables, an egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and cayenne.
I mixed everything together, felt that the mixture was too mushy to form into balls so I added chopped cashew nuts and rolls oats.
Satisfied with the texture, I divided the mixture into three portions, formed each portion into an oversized ball and dropped the fishballs in hot oil.
When the fishballs were nicely browned and crisp on the outside, I scooped them out and placed them on small mounds of rice.
Two tablespoons or so of thick tomato sauce was spread over each fishball before a slice each of Parmesan and mozzarella went on top.
Alex torched the cheeses until melted and the fishballs a la Parmigiana was done.
Who’d think this dish was made from leftovers, right? A sprinkling of greens and, oh, it was perfection!
Fishballs a la Parmigiana
For the fish balls
- 1 and 1/2 cups flaked cooked fish
- 2 heaping tablespoons chopped or grated carrot
- 2 heaping tablespoons finely sliced scallions
- 1 tablespoon fried garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes (available in the spice section of groceries and supermarkets)
- 2 tablespoons chopped nuts (I used cashew)
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
To cook the fish balls
- cooking oil for deep frying
To complete the dish
- 6 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 3 slices Parmesan
- 3 slices mozzarella
- chopped parsley
Mix together all the ingredients for the fish balls. Divide into three portions. Form each portion into a ball.
Heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
Fry the fishballs until browned and crisp.
On a plate, smother the tops of the fishballs with tomato sauce. Place a slice of Parmesan and mozzarella on top of each.
Using a kitchen torch, melt the cheeses until bubbly and speckled.
Sprinkle in chopped parsley before serving the fishballs a la Parmigiana.
Why use a kitchen torch to melt the cheeses? Couldn't they have been melted in the oven? Sure, that's an option. If I were cooking a whole tray of fishballs a la Parmigiana, that's what I would have done. But we're talking three fishballs here. THREE. Waste of time and electricity to preheat the oven only to melt the cheeses on top of three fishballs. So... kitchen torch.