Ultimate Mozzarella Meatball Salad
Chef Jay Smith
Meatballs are a crowd favorite, but serving them stuffed and in a salad should win over new fans. These meatballs are made with ground chicken blended with bacon, bell peppers, sundried tomatoes, green onions, dry Jack cheese and jalapenos to create several layers of flavor. Each meatball is stuffed with a mozzarella cube to create even more cheesy goodness.
Mozzarella-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs
6 lb. ground chicken
2 lb. finely chopped bacon
8 oz. red bell peppers, finely diced
4 oz. green onions, finely chopped
4 oz. jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
4 oz. sundried tomatoes, finely diced
8 oz. grated dry Jack cheese
1 oz. finely chopped parsley
1 oz. salt
½ oz. black epper
½ cup water
1 cup bread crums
4 ½ lb. mozzarella cheese, cut in ½-in. X 1-in. cubes
Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
48 slices white bread, crusts removed
24 slices mozzarella cheese
72 chicken meatballs
24 grilled mozzarella sandwiches
24 cups red or green kale, cut in 1-in. pieces
24 cups cooked, drained chickpeas
12 cups grilled corn kernels
48 grape tomatoes, halved
9 cups salsa verde vinaigrette
12 avocados, sliced ¼-in. thick
144 slices Fresno chiles
1 bunch cilantro
- For the meatballs, blend all ingredients except mozzarella cubes in a mixer with a paddle attachment for 1 minute or until well blended. Place meatball mixture into walk-in for 30 minutes to chill before stuffing and shaping.
- Portion mix using a #16 scoop onto a sheet pan. Stuff a piece of mozzarella into the center of each meatball and make sure the cheese is fully covered to prevent leakage. Cover and refrigerate.
- For the grilled cheese sandwiches, layer 2 bread slices and 1 mozzarella slice to order or ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate until service.
- For the salad (per serving), preheat oil in deep fryer to 350 F. Place 3 chicken meatballs in fryer and cook 2 minutes; remove and place in 350 F. oven for 2 minutes.
- Butter exterior of 1 grilled cheese sandwich and place on a flat top or nonstick pan over medium heat; cook until golden brown on both sides. Cut each sandwich into sixths by splitting lengthwise and then into thirds.
- While meatballs and sandwich are cooking, place 1 cup kale, 1 cup chickpeas, ½ cup corn, 4 tomato halves, and 6 tablespoons vinaigrette into a bowl; toss to combine. Arrange in serving bowl; top with fanned slices of ½ avocado and place 3 meatballs on avocado. Surround meatballs with mini mozzarella sandwiches, 6 slices of Fresno chile and some cilantro leaves. Top with additional salsa verde vinaigrette, if needed.
Photo courtesy of California Milk Advisory Board