Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Meatloaf Makeover

There are few foods that have such vivid associations as meatloaf. It might even be the quintessentially uncool homey working class dish. It is the Ernest Borgnine of American cuisine. Good honest and plain. Which is of course why it has always been so ripe for a makeover. Or at least was. Meatloaf had its shining moment in restaurants, a few years ago, as a retro-comfort food. Made with grass fed organic beef, and local vegetables in season, naturally. Maybe even served with toast points to remind people of what became of its French cousins who did so well. But the makeover can go too far, if it tries too hard to be hip, fakes the funk, or somehow loses sight of its homey core, the meatloaf seems tawdry and tarted up.

Well, I think this one rides that fine line between being true to itself and yet still exuding elegance. It is still a meatloaf my mom would eat. Bison replaced beef, for no other reason than I saw it in the store for 7 bucks a pound. So this was hardly expensive in the end. I had to put the hard boiled egg in the middle. Inside went diced carrots, you can see, celery, shallots. But the real kicker and the key to light texture, came from a cup of sourdough bread crumbs, fried in the last lump of that lardo battuto I wrote about a few posts back. Plus a good squirt of tomato paste. And then, just so it's not too pretentious, some barbecue sauce as a glaze, and it was cooked in the toaster oven. 350 for about an hour. I say meat loaf needs another revival.

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