Loving the Leftovers – Kale Fritters and Meatballs made with Boiled Meat (Riclico con Cavolacci Fritti e Polpette di Bollito)

IMG_4515 I would hate to cast aspersion on the Ayurvedic approach to eating which puts such a premium on freshness that it literally abhors and shuns the very notion of re-heating any food, on the grounds that such food will have lost all healthy energesing properties.  I too like freshly prepared food and will re-heat any food only once. However, the tradition I was born into is one that puts a premium on good husbandry where food is concerned and this approach looks to making good use of ANY leftover ingredient or food –these foods are called “avanzi” and they are more often than not thought of in terms of a treat.  Leftover spaghetti can be turned into an omelette, a leftover meat cutlet can be re-heated in a tomato sauce and leftover bread (Italian bread naturally) will always find a home in one recipe or another …

Today’s post is a bit of a hotch potch … it looks at using leftovers from to make 1) kale fritters and 2) meatballs.

It all started out with my making a plain ‘brodo’ or meat stock.  I had used the stock to serve some tortellini (tortellini in brodo).


This left with me with the boiled meat.   Also, the day before, I had made some batter with which to fry the florets of a broccolo romano (see my previous post) … and thus I had some leftover batter in the fridge.

Let’s start with the fried food first — which we had as appetizers.  I roughly chopped some fresh kale (which had been trimmed of its tough inner ‘artery’ or whatever it’s called).

IMG_4516 IMG_4517 I put the chopped kale in a bowl and added the fridge-cold batter from the day before.IMG_4521The batter looked a bit ‘watery’, so I added some breadcrumbs.  I used a fork to mix all the ingredients.
IMG_4524And here are the fried kale appetizers — sprinkled with plenty of salt of course — and what a delight!

Next came the meaballs or “polpette di bollito” as they are spoken of in Rome.

1 I chopped the boiled meat into bite-size chunks …2 I placed some very hard leftover bread in a bowl with warm water, to soften it.3 I grated some parmesan cheese (it’s on top of the meat), I sprinkled some nutmeg over the parmesan, I got hold of some parsely, and I squeezed all the water out of a handful of the moistened bread (it’s what you see on the left).  Also required for these meatballs: 2 eggs.4 Place all those ingredients inside a mixer with a good pinch of salt and white pepper …5 And blitz very gently, or on a pulse if you have one.  We want to mince the meat but we don’t want to ‘mash’ it … If you are nimble and deft enough, by all means cut the meat yourself finely with a sharp knife!  I am not in that league yet so a processor works just fine for me …6Shape the mixture into meat balls …7Coat them in plenty of breadcrumbs …8 And shallow fry them in very hot oil for about 1 minute.  The meat was already cooked, remember, so basically we are just re-heating and crisping these meatballs.9 Here they are …. sprinkle a little more salt and serve like this.10Or else … serve with some plain, but lovely, hot tomato sauce.  I added a sprig of mint for a little freshness.

Not too shabby eh? Fried kale, tortellini in brodo, polpette in tomato sauce  ….


About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Antipasti, Basic Techniques, Herbs and plants, italian home food, Loving the Leftovers, Polpette: Meatballs as well as vegetable crocquettes, Soups and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Loving the Leftovers – Kale Fritters and Meatballs made with Boiled Meat (Riclico con Cavolacci Fritti e Polpette di Bollito)

  1. Valentina says:

    Kale fritters are so good. My favorite way to eat kale is “stufate” with garlic, olives and anchovies.

  2. Libby Morris says:

    Can I arrange a cooking lesson with fried everything… maybe in May?!!!

  3. Mi piacciano i tuoi avanzi!

  4. Sandy Grushcow says:

    Very creative use of leftovers. I love the idea of Kale Fritters, can’t wait to try them.

  5. gareth says:

    Love this piece. I say that leftovers are a luxury of the privileged – all others eat all placed in front of them at the meal. Deh-Ta Hsiung and I discussed this only recently – he said that in his China there were never any leftovers – one thanked someone upstairs for all that was provided. At No 19 we have a simple rule – a) agree with Jo about not cooking more than twice and b) the belief that foods have lost all nutrition and taste by day 3. There are exceptions. Kale fritters – I’m on my way. Very similar to bhajia’s in their making, but without the spices (except for pepper). Bravo Jo.

    • Thank you Gareth … I think that “leftovers” are a product of serendipity at times … I had a bunch of cleaned kale staring at me, and a smidgeon of the batter … instead of throwing the stuff away, boom! kale fratters come into being!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s