Elegant, delicious, simple, this turkey meatloaf with wedge salad makes a heart-warming meal
A thoughtful spin on a comfort classic
Even though meatloaf as we know it really only started to appear in cookbooks 100 years ago, there is something inevitable and universal about it. It's home on a plate.
I love it because it's simple and comforting -- and really easy to transform into something that fits the way I cook for my family. More color, more flavor, more elegance -- not necessarily more food on the plate. Abundance, after all, is not just measured by portion size. It's measured by delight.
To jack up that delight, I've made a meatloaf for your EuroCAST skillet and parchment paper that explodes with flavor from garlic, onion, steak sauce, and parmesan cheese. I use both ground turkey and delicious vegetables to balance it.
The wedge salad below is also a spin -- but a simple one that looks and tastes lovely. And replacing the usual mashed potatoes with creamy polenta should remind you that an elegant substitute can actually be easier and more delicious.
This recipe uses the EuroCAST skillet and parchment paper, a nifty technique. You'll see why.
Start by chopping, mincing, and grating as follows:
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large zucchini grated on a box grater
- 1 carrot, finely minced
In your EuroCAST skillet, sauté the above in 3 T. olive oil until the onions become soft, about 4-5 minutes. Cool slightly.
Add the onion, garlic, zucchini and carrot to:
- 2 lbs ground turkey meat
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1-1/2 cup panko
- 1/4 cup steak sauce
- 1 T. kosher salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
- Mix well to incorporate but don’t over-mix.
- Line your EuroCAST skillet with 2 pieces parchment criss-crossed over one another.
- Place the meat combination onto the parchment paper and pat down to fill the space.
- Cover the top with 1 cup ketchup mixed with 1/4 cup (or a little less to taste) strongly brewed espresso.
Remove the EuroCAST skillet handle. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes until top is browned.
Let set before slicing.
When you slice, you'll see two benefits of the parchment paper. First, you have less to worry about using a serving knife and your EuroCAST non-stick. Second, and more importantly, the parchment paper helps a lower-fat recipe brown with a beautiful crust without trapping water.
They say that freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. And, "polenta" is just another word for cornmeal. So if you see a bag that says "cornmeal", it's also polenta.
That said, there are lots of kinds of cornmeal (uh, polenta). Organic or not, fineness of grind, color. In this recipe, a medium-grain yellow cornmeal will look great and have a beautiful, creamy texture, but you can go with a coarse-ground cornmeal for a bit more rustic on your plate.
Just don't use instant polenta. They sell it, but it's not really a thing. In my world.
You can cook polenta in water like I say below, or use milk. I sometimes even use chicken stock, depending on the main dish I'm serving along with the polenta (uh, cornmeal). Because we're serving this with turkey meatloaf, no chicken stock. Water makes it light and keeps the corn flavor as a (nuanced) star.
Usually for creamy polenta, I use five parts liquid to one part cornmeal. (Polenta cakes are another matter. We'll have fund with that dish later in 2018.)
- Since we will be using one cup of polenta in Step 2, put your EuroCAST soup pot on the stove with four cups of water and a tablespoon of kosher salt and get it boiling.
- When it comes to a slow bubble, pour the corn meal in a slow stream and whisk vigorously (with a whisk safe for our non-stick pans) to keep clumps from forming. Clumps happen fast. Stay on task.
- Reduce the heat and continue to whisk for 3 minutes to cook the cornmeal. Whisk away -- it adds air so the polenta ends up being creamy and airy.
- Remove from heat and stir in:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 1 T fresh thyme leaves
- 2 T minced fresh chives
- 1 pinch both black pepper and Aleppo pepper (or red pepper flakes)
TIP: If you really love thyme's flavor, you can add thyme leaves earlier, while you're cooking or whisking.
Taste and adjust for salt. Remove thyme leaves.
Serve piping hot under the sliced turkey meatloaf.
Wedge salad, stepped up
With the soft sumptuousness of the meatloaf on polenta anchoring your plate, this wedge salad gives you cool, crunchy splendor as a contrast. The dressing, and choice of purple radicchio to go along with the green lettuce, keep the pleasure and elegance amped up -- but there's no question that this is still approachable comfort food everyone will love.
Color on the plate always makes things more inviting. Iceberg letttuce on its own is, well, about as colorful as an ice berg.
But it’s also a blank canvas. So here is my take on an American steakhouse classic, only not so iceberg-y.
- 1 whole head iceberg lettuce, outer leaves removed. Cut in 1/2 through the core, then that 1/2, cut again into thirds. Giving you 6 wedges.
- 1 whole head Radicchio cut into 6 pieces as above.
- 2 Persian cucumbers
- 5 radishes
- 1/2 cup pea pods
- 2 scallions, washed well (use both the green and white parts)
Add these ingredients in a large bowl with
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 4 T whole milk or buttermilk
- 2 T dried dill
- 1 T garlic powder
- 2 T minced fresh flat leaf parsley
- Pinch kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 T chia seeds
- 1 T sesame seeds
Mix well and taste, adjusting seasoning.
This is a baseline recipe. Add what you want, or take away as desired!
Serving suggestion. On a large plate, arrange the iceberg and radicchio wedges and toss the roughly chopped vegetables on top.
Two wedges per person.
Pass the dressing and dig in.
About EuroCAST skillets
Skillets, the like pro ones from EuroCAST, aren't just my own go-to tools. They're also used by professionals and home cooks to prep and finish billions of meals each year. When stovetop size is limited, or you're just toasting up some capers and garlic slices in olive oil, the small skillets work great. Bigger skillets can do entire courses for your family.
I love being able to remove the handles to finish cooking in the oven. These pans sear meats well, and finishing with a roast in the oven is really simple when you don't have to change pans.
I also like the way these pans heat up quickly, require lower temperatures generally for the same results, and distribute heat evenly. It's a combination benefit from the materials used in the skillets and the induction plate on the bottom (which helps distribute heat and makes the pans really sturdy).
They're just terrific.
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