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Falcinelli loves to say that this salad "makes gazpacho in your mouth." It's funny, because there are no avocados in gazpacho, but true because the experience of eating it—it's all lush and creamy with super-fresh tomato flavor—is gazpacho-like. The sting and the acid from the raw onion keep it from going flabby.
2 large ripe tomatoes
1 small (or ½ medium) red onion, thinly sliced
Fine sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Hass avocados
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Core the tomatoes and slice into wedges. Combine with the sliced onion, a large pinch of salt, and the olive oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Gently toss, and divide among four serving plates.
2. Halve, pit, peel, and slice the avocados and divide among the four plates. Sprinkle the avocado with a small pinch of salt and drizzle each plate with a little olive oil. Finish with a few grinds of black pepper just before the salad goes to the table.
Serves 6, Makes 18-20 meatballs
4 slices bread (2 packed cups' worth)
2 pounds ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup finely chopped flat- leaf parsley
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus about 1 cup for serving
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup pine nuts
fine sea salt
15 turns white pepper
4 large eggs
½ cup dried bread crumbs
The Spuntino Way
1. Heat the oven to 325°F. Put the fresh bread in a bowl, cover it with water, and let it soak for a minute or so. Pour off the water and wring out the bread, then crumble and tear it into tiny pieces.
2. Combine the bread with all the remaining ingredients except the tomato sauce in a medium mixing bowl, adding them in the order they are listed. Add the dried bread crumbs last to adjust for wetness: the mixture should be moist wet, not sloppy wet.
3. Shape the meat mixture into handball-sized meatballs and space them evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The meatballs will be firm but still juicy and gently yielding when they're cooked through. (At this point, you can cool the meatballs and hold them in the refrigerator for as long as a couple of days or freeze them for the future.)
4. Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the meatballs comfortably.
5. Dump the meatballs into the pan of sauce and nudge the heat up ever so slightly. Simmer the meatballs for half an hour or so (this isn't one of those cases where longer is better) so they can soak up some sauce. Keep them there until it's time to eat.