Any time we see a cookbook devoted to the fine art of grilled cheese, we get very excited. British author Fern Green takes a deep-dive into one of the most sought-after comfort foods we’ve ever known, with variations from vegetarian and fruit-adorned to the wonderfully meaty and everything in between. Try this pork meatball melt with pickled fennel and get to know your favorite crispy pressed sandwich all over again.
These delicious ingredients are great in a toasted sandwich. It takes a little time to make the meatballs, but time is love and this toastie gives you that with pesto on top!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 9 ounces minced (ground) pork
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 4 thick slices white bread
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons runny honey
- 1 small fennel, finely sliced
- Scant 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 1 ounce basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch sea salt
For the sandwich
Make the pickled fennel by mixing the rice vinegar with the honey in a bowl, then add the sliced fennel. Leave to pickle for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put all the walnut pesto ingredients into a food processor and blend until just combined: the texture should be coarse, not smooth. Set aside.
For the meatballs, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan (skillet) over a medium-low heat, then add the onion and garlic. Gently fry for 5–10 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Put the pork, Worcestershire sauce, Parmesan and onion mixture into a food processor, season with black pepper and blitz until well combined but not completely smooth. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Add the fennel seeds to the pork mixture, combine together using your hands, then form small balls about 3∕4-inch in diameter.
Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs in batches – it’s best not to overcrowd the pan – on all sides for around 10 minutes until golden brown and cooked all the way through.
Toast all 4 slices of bread in a toaster then butter each slice on one side. Lay 1 slice butter-side up, then spread over the walnut pesto followed by the meatballs. Top with the pickled fennel. Repeat this process twice more. You should end up with a stacked meatball sandwich. Cut in half to serve.