Meatloaf – My Comfort Food
I know some groan at the mention of meatloaf, but I find it delicious and comforting. When it is cold and wet outside, it is one of my favorite. My favorite meatloaf recipe comes from Zov’s Bistro Not your ordinary meatloaf, this one is so packed full of fresh herbs and parmesan cheese. Did I say this is not just any meatloaf recipe; it was a favorite of Julia Childs and if it was good enough for Julia, well…
See this video of Zov making the meatloaf with Cathy Thomas, the local newspaper’s food editor. I love her story. Zov drove her meatloaf and garlic mashed potatoes up to Santa Barbara to give comfort to Julia Child during her last days. Actually Cathy Thomas went with her, but in the video she acts like it is news to her. Zov said that Julia liked it so well she asked for the recipe so her chefs at the facility she was staying at could make it for her. Zov says that you need to use fresh herbs because of their natural oils has so much more flavor. Using fresh is what takes this from ordinary to extraordinary. Psst… that’s the secret. She gives away her other chef secrets. Use fresh herbs, use ground beef with a little fat in it, and roast it up on a rack so the air circulates so it doesn’t steam – it roasts; turn it over after a few minutes so it gets browned. Notice how Zov has prepared her mise en place. It really makes a recipe go together with minimal effort. My two cents is if you are cooking, get a thermometer to keep from over-baking, or under-baking.
I guess you could use dried, but I know from experience it will not be as good. I learned my lesson, but you are the boss of your food. I know fresh herbs are expensive so I would encourage you plant a pot or two of your favorites. I have been lucky enough to have a neighbor gift me with several pots. I about fell over when he asked would I like them. He was in the process of thinning his garden and really needed to get them out of his garden. Well I was doing a happy dance when they turned up at my back gate.
Thank you Zov; you are brilliant. Thank you Cathy Thomas for featuring Zov on the video, thanks to my neighbor who was so generous with his herbs, and of coarse, thank you Julia, for being Julia.
I did not make her mushroom gravy, but rather my grandmother’s stewed tomatoes. We call it tomato gravy. It is really double comfort if you make her scones. They are one of my families favorite.
Zov has two published cookbooks. Zov – Recipes and Memories From The Heart, this is where I found my scones, and a fish dish that I will try to post about soon, and Simply Zov: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist is on my wish list.
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1 cup cubed day-old white bread
- ⅓ cup half and half
- 1½ pounds ground beef (20 percent fat)
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- ⅓ cup finely chopped shallots
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- Position oven rack to middle position; preheat to 400 degrees.
- Line heavy, rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Place cooling rack atop baking sheet.
- Spray cooling rack with nonstick spray.
- Toss bread cubes with half and half in large bowl to coat.
- Set aside until bread is very soft and all liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Add ground beef, parsley, shallots, cheese, tomato paste, eggs, oregano, thyme, pepper, salt, seasoned salt and rosemary.
- Using clean hands, mix just until all ingredients are thoroughly blended, but do not over-mix because doing so causes meat loaf to be tough.
- Form mixture into a 9-by-4-inch oval loaf.
- Set meat loaf atop the prepared rack on baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, and then turn it over, and then about 1 hour or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted into center of meatloaf.
- Allow meatloaf to rest for 15 minutes (this will help keep it moist).
- Using a large sharp knife cut meatloaf crosswise into thick slices.