Mini Pumpkin-Sage Balls
Makes 16 miniballs
A 5-pound pumpkin sitting on the kitchen counter inspired Mian Catalano, a student at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, N.Y., to create an hors d’oeuvre that pays homage to the Italian
half of her Filipino-Italian heritage. “They look like miniature Italian fried rice balls called arancine, or ‘little oranges,’ which get their name from their golden crisp exteriors,” she says. This recipe can easily be made vegan by substituting 1/4 cup silken tofu and 1/4 tsp. baking powder for the egg.
- 3 Tbs. canola oil, plus more for frying sage leaves
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
- 2 ½ tsp. chopped fresh sage
- ¾ cup pumpkin purée
- ¾ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten, or ¼ cup silken tofu and ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 16 whole sage leaves
- Green pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, for dipping
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Heat oil in small skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, and cook 10 minutes, or until light brown, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and chopped sage, and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to bowl.
2. Combine pumpkin purée, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, and pepper in bowl with onion mixture. Form into 1 1/2 -inch balls, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown.
3. Pour enough oil in large skillet to coat bottom 1/8 inch. Heat over medium heat until oil shimmers. Add sage leaves in single layer, and fry 20 to 30 seconds, or until brittle but still bright green. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate, and sprinkle with salt. Serve pumpkin balls with sage leaves and green pepper sauce.