A healthy alternative to meatballs served with a real tomato sauce made from scratch. These are the grandchildren's favourite: they're tasty, take minutes to cook and the little ones can roll their sleeves up and help make the fishballs themselves.
- 450g (1 lb) par-smoked salmon cutlets, skinned
- 55g (2 oz) stale white breadcrumbs about 4 tablespoons milk
- about 4 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped capers
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- a little flour, to coat
- olive oil, for frying
For the tomato sauce
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- two 400g cans chopped tomatoes
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 450g (1 lb) dried linguine
- Chop the salmon into very, very small pieces. This is better done by hand rather than in a food processor as it gives the fish a much better texture.
- Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk until soft. Squeeze out the excess liquid and mix the crumbs with the fish. Add the pine nuts, capers, parsley, cheese, egg and seasoning (watch the salt).
- Work these ingredients together well with your hands or mixer until they are thoroughly amalgamated, and then shape into little balls. The easiest way to do this is to divide the mixture into 24 equal pieces and then roll each one into a ball. (If you wash your hands before beginning, keep a bowl of water on the side to wet your hands from time to time you will find the mixture won't stick to them!) Place on a baking sheet then cover and chill for 30 minutes to firm them up.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a large shallow pan - almost to smoking point (a wok is good for this). Stand back as it will splutter, and add the chopped garlic, oregano and tomatoes. Cook over a fierce heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until the sauce is thick and glossy, then taste and season.
- Sprinkle some flour onto a large plate and dip the fishballs into the flour making sure they are well coated. Tap off the excess and set on a tray.
- Heat a little oil in the frying pan and quickly brown the fishballs all over. Pour the tomato sauce over the fishballs, bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes until cooked.
- While the fishballs are cooking, cook the linguine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Drain well and serve with the fishballs and sauce.