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Smoky Grilled Meatball Subs

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Serves 4

  • by Samantha Seneviratne from Fine Cooking
    Issue 112

The pork meatballs in these saucy sandwiches get a double dose of smoky flavor: first from smoked paprika and then from the grill. Sweet, fire-roasted chiles and grilled tomatoes form the base for a delicious sauce.

  • 5 6-inch soft sub rolls
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for the grill
  • 1 medium tomato (8 oz.), halved crosswise
  • 2 jarred piquillo peppers (or substitute 1 large jarred roasted red pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 oz. finely grated manchego cheese (about 1 cup)

Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire.

Tear half of one roll into 1/4-inch pieces and put in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup water and let sit until the bread has absorbed the water, about 5 minutes. Gently squeeze the bread to remove excess water and finely chop the soaked bread (you should have about 1/4 cup).

In a large bowl, break up the pork with your hands. Add the soaked bread, egg, garlic, lemon zest, thyme, smoked paprika, 1-1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Use your hands to gently combine the mixture. Shape into 16 meatballs (each about 1-1/2 inches).

Split the remaining rolls, but don’t cut them completely in half. Brush the insides of the rolls with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Brush the cut side of the tomato and the meatballs with the remaining olive oil.

Oil the grill grate and grill the tomato until softened and lightly browned, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes. Grill the bread split side down until golden and lightly charred on the edges, 1 to 3 minutes. Grill the meatballs until they’re just cooked through, turning once, about 8 minutes. Remove each item as it finishes cooking and set aside.

In a food processor, purée the grilled tomato, piquillo peppers, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt.

Put 4 meatballs in each roll and top with one-quarter of the sauce and one-quarter of the cheese. Serve hot.

Serving Suggestions

Serve up these subs with a fresh Spinach and Grilled Radicchio Salad.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 500; Fat (g): 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): 8; Protein (g): 34; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): 40; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Sodium (mg): 930; Cholesterol (mg): 135; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I want to rate this but I CAN'T FIND IT! Issue 112 does not have it, nor do issues 113, 110, 111, and 109. This happens to me a lot of the time, I don't want to sit at the computer in another room when I no doubt have the issue here. I am meant to add a certain number to the issue number maybe? This is very frustrating! I know it's a very old posting now but I feel better for having complained...

We cooked these meatballs on our smoking grill, and they are delicious! Very juicy and flavorful.

The meatballs are light and delicious. Love the lemon and thyme working together here. The sauce is also great on scrambled eggs.

Didn't like this. Meatballs were pretty flavorless, would have preferred more a traditional tomato sauce and couldn't even taste the manchego. I think this was the first recipe from Fine Cooking that I was disappointed by. They usually knock it out of the park.

I am not a big fan of meatball subs as they always seem to heavy, but decided to try this one as I love smoked paprika and the idea of grilling the meatballs sounded fun. The dish was light and very flavorful. The Manchego cheese was a perfect addition.

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