You might be surprised to hear that Meat the Ball owner Stefano Fabbri’s preferred “meatball” is made of cauliflower. “I eat Italian food every day, and this is something very different,” says Fabbri, who also owns Valley thin-crust legend Pomo Pizzeria.
Different doesn’t begin to describe the spicy cauliflower balls ($12) – tarted-up vegan delights that will wake up your senses like a bolt of lightning. To prepare, Fabbri blanches cauliflower and lightly pulses the florets in a food processor with some high-octane serrano chiles, garlic, ginger, cilantro and other spices, and then binds the mix together with chickpea flour. He shapes the batter into perfectly round orbs (roughly the size of golf balls) and rolls them in gluten-free breadcrumbs, fries them in hot vegetable oil and finishes them in the oven.
Fabbri tops the fiery cauliflower balls with a bold turmeric and garam-masala-laced curry sauce. To level out the heat, he nestles them on a bed of soft, full-flavored broccoli rice with garlic and a hint of coconut. Served three to an order, the feisty veggie balls have the coarse consistency of an Italian meatball, but the flavor profile of an intense Indian curry. Just make sure your favorite beverage is handy, Fabbri advises. “This meatball [dish] is spicy inside and out. That’s why I love it.”