• ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
• ½ cup whole milk
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
• 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 3 pounds ground veal
• 1½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (6 ounces)
• 3 large eggs
• 3 large egg yolks, beaten
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
• 2½ teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs, for dusting
• Olive oil, for deep-frying
Garnish and serve with:
• Pimento-stuffed green olives, speared onto toothpicks
• Patsy’s Vodka sauce (available at better grocers), heated
1. To make the mini-meatballs: Put the bread crumbs in a small bowl, drizzle with the milk, and let soak and soften for a few minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they are lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
3. Using your hands, mix the veal, soaked bread crumbs, and the onion mixture in a large bowl. Add the Parmesan, eggs, yolks, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix again until combined.
4. Dust the work surface with about ½ cup of the seasoned bread crumbs. On the bread crumbs, shape about ¾ cup the meatball mixture into a 1-inch-wide strip. Sprinkle the top of the strip with more seasoned bread crumbs. Cut the strip into ½- to ¾-inch lengths. Transfer the pieces to a large sieve or strainer and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs to prevent sticking. Rotate the sieve in a circulation motion to toss the strips of meat and form marble-size meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining meat mixture and bread crumbs.
5. Preheat the oven to 200ºF. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place near the stove.
6. Pour enough oil into a large deep skillet to come 1 inch up the sides. Heat the oil over high heat to 360ºF. In batches without crowding, and adding more oil as needed, deep-fry the meatballs until browned and cooked through, about 1½ minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the baking sheet. Keep the cooked meatballs warm in the oven meatballs while frying the rest. (The meatballs can be cooled, packed into 1-gallon plastic storage bags, and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat before using in a 350ºF oven for about 10 minutes.)
7. For each serving, place a portion of meatballs in a martini glass. Garnish with parsley and green olives spears. Serve ramekins of the vodka sauce on the side for dipping the meatballs.
Photo: Gurwin Photography