Romanian Mamaliga Balls are another example of Eastern Europeans' love of food tucked inside other food. Cornmeal porridge - mamaliga - is cooked until thick, portioned into balls and stuffed with salami or smoked sausage and fried.
The influence of the Mediterranean on Romanian cuisine is evidenced in this cornmeal porridge which is the equivalent of Italian polenta.
This is a great appetizer, snack or finger food appropriate with cocktails. Substitute the salami with chunks of ham or feta cheese.
- 2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup salami (or smoked sausage or pepperoni, casing removed and roughly chopped)
Stir cornmeal, water, and salt together in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and, stirring frequently, cook 12 minutes or until thick enough to be scooped. Stir in butter and adjust seasonings.
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or deep-fryer to 350 F.
Using a cookie scoop, portion out balls. Flatten mamaliga in the palm of your hand, add a chunk of salami to the center, seal completely and roll into a ball.
Fry balls 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Serve warm with sliced tomatoes and fresh herbs or, to be untraditional, with a marinara dipping sauce.