We know there are many kinds of meatball recipes all over the world using different types of meats and spices, including vegetarian and fish alternatives, and various methods but only few people know that the very first meatball was made of fish.
All this I found out from a Roman cook book which was attributed to Apicius, the great glutton (lived in the 1st century AD). He noted down many kinds of meatball recipes, for instance the fish minced versions which were made with ink fish, octopus, garnelas, marrow, and mussels and of course the cook book contain many meat ball recipes as well such as chicken, peacock, pork or rabbit. According to Apicius, the best hamburger was ever made from peacock. The finelly chopped ingredients were mushed together with in wine soaked bread. Spices, herbs were added salt, pepper and parsley, then they were rolled into small shaped balls, pine nuts and peppercorns were placed in the middle, then wrapped in gut or intestinal, poured over must (grapewine) and were baked in the furnace until they became tender but still crunchy.
The first Hungarian meatball was being made likewise than the Roman one. Thus from a certain amount of ground meat, rolled into a small ball, along with other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs, minced onion, spices, and eggs. They are cooked by frying, or baking in the oven but never steaming, or braising.
One more word about the “fasírt”
There is a funny saying in Hungarian „I am in fasírt with you” literally means that „I am crossed with you”. The proverb originally comes from the French jargon, meaning: angry, pissed off (In French fâché means that someone is offended).
Two excellent “Fasírt” recipes
Ingredients: 1 and half cup of ground meat, 2 slices of stale bread, 1 small onion, 2 cloves of garlic, finely-grated bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter, 1 tbs of Dijon mustard, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, 1 cup oil
Procedure: 1. Soak bread in water and squeeze hard to drain. 2. Soaté onion in 1 tablespoon of oil until golden brown. 3. Add ground meat, bread crumbs, eggs, soatéd onion, parsley, salt, pepper, chilli paprika powder, mustard and mix thoroughly. 4. Form into 1-inch thick patties. 5. Roll in breadcrumbs and fry in hot oil. Serve hot with French fries or mashed potatoes.
Turkey or chicken burger
Ingredients: 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, 1/2 cup finely chopped celery, 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced, 1/8 cup oil, 4 pounds ground turkey breast, minced, 1 egg, 2 Tbsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. mustard, 1 Tbsp. black pepper, 2 tsp. Tabasco pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, 1 Tsp cinnamon, 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped, pickles
Sauté the scallions, celery and apples in the oil until tender. Let it cool.
Place the ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Add sautéed items, egg and the remaining ingredients. Shape into eight 8-ounce burgers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Season the turkey burgers with salt and pepper, and cinnamon. Fry each side for 3 minutes until meat is thoroughly cooked. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Serve with a side of Chutney or pickles and with your favorite toasted bread, pita or hamburger roll.