S.Y.S. (Save Yer Scraps)

Today, I spoke with chef Liza Shaw of San Francisco’s A16. The Italian restaurant has a bit of a reputation for its Meatball Mondays, where they serve the uber-popular dish made from scraps and trimmings.

A16's meatballs. Photo by Biskuit via Creative CommonsA16 mostly uses prosciutto scraps saved throughout the week. No wonder they’re so good! 

I realized meatloaf, sausages and soups were good uses for odds and ends, but for some reason, I’d never lumped meatballs into that category. Shaw said they usually add beef left from other dishes, and that they’ve included lamb, duck and chicken scraps in the past.

Another secret is the 60/40 meat-to-bread ratio, which not only stretches your meat supply but makes the meatballs retain the drippings. In fact, using too much meat is detrimental, as they dry out.

Shaw uses her old-ish bread here, so it’s a case where repurposing and saving foods creates a more savory dish. Does anyone do this at home–with meatballs or another food item?

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