There’s nothing worse than biting into meatloaf after it’s cooked to realize it’s under-seasoned. And no one wants to go through the hassle of cooking off a small amount of the meat to check for seasoning before cooking the whole thing. So while the amount of salt here may seem like a lot, trust me; it will ensure the meatloaf is properly seasoned (I use Diamond Crystal brand, so if you have Morton’s, use half as much or 1 ½ teaspoons). And though it’s satisfying to squirt ketchup directly from the bottle, if you have the patience and desire, stir the vinegar (or use more lemon juice) into the ketchup to cut its sweetness before spreading it over the meatloaf.
From the story: Keep meatloaf classic and simple for the best recipe
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, garlic, shallots, parsley and lemon juice and process until smooth, scraping down the sides once to ensure there are no large unprocessed chunks.
Using your fingers, crumble the beef into a large bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Scrape the butter mixture onto the beef along with the breadcrumbs and egg and gently mix everything together with your hands until evenly combined. Transfer the meatloaf mix to a sheet of foil and pat it into an 8 ½-by-4 ½-inch rectangle, 1 ½ inches thick. If using the vinegar, stir it into the ketchup in a small bowl now.
Heat a medium ovenproof skillet (at least 10 inches in diameter) over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Pour the oil into the skillet and swirl to coat evenly. Using the foil as a carrier, gently flip the meatloaf into the hot skillet and peel off the foil. Quickly spread the ketchup evenly over the top of the meatloaf (try not to let any fall down the sides), then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until crusty on the bottom and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meatloaf reads 160 degrees, 28 to 30 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven and let the meatloaf cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Serve from the skillet or use two metal spatulas to transfer it to a serving platter. Cut into ½-inch-thick slices and serve with green peas and lemon wedges on the side. Garnish with more parsley, if you like.
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