Clearly, I’ve got balls on the brain. We’ve been testing meatball recipes for Well Fed 2, and we have finally settled on the 15 (Yes! Fifteen!) varieties that will be included in the new cookbook. In honor of bringing the testing phase to a close, I thought I’d share a favorite of mine from the first Well Fed: Bora Bora Fireballs.
These meatballs came to me in a dream. I woke up with tumbling thoughts about a lush combination of pineapple, succulent pork, and creamy-sweet coconut. I was haunted by images of tikis and luaus. The only way to clear my mind was to surrender to the kitchen gods. After three attempts, something still wasn’t quite right. Later, while lost in photos of tropical beaches and coral reefs, I landed on the fiery name, and the rest of the recipe fell into place. These taste even better the second day, so if you can endure the wait, you will be rewarded.
Bora Bora Fireballs
Prep 10 min | Cook 30 min | Makes about 42 meatballs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, sugar-free, packed in its own juice
2 tablespoons coconut aminos or homemade substitute
1 1/2 teaspoons dried ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3-4 scallions, white and green, very thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 fresh jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 pounds ground pork
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, then add the coconut. Toast, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Set aside to cool.
2. Drain the cup of canned pineapple in a sieve placed over a bowl to catch the juice. Press the pineapple pulp against the sieve with a wooden spoon to extract the excess moisture. Place the pineapple in a large mixing bowl and save the juice for later.
3. To the pineapple, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cayenne, coconut aminos, ginger, garlic, scallions, jalapeño, and eggs. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. With your hands, crumble the pork into the bowl and knead until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Arrange the bowls of pineapple juice, spiced coconut, and seasoned pork for easy access. Measure a level tablespoon of pork to make a meatball, lightly douse it in the pineapple juice, then roll it in the coconut, pressing the coconut shreds into the meat by lightly rolling the ball between your palms. This is a rare case in which more isn’t better — don’t go too cuckoo with the coconut. Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.
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