Oh sure, deciding to use the stovetop on the hottest day of the year, without having a ‘freezer burn’ level of air conditioning, might not be the smartest idea, but when you trumped preparing the ground lamb you thawed over the weekend as planned, needed to cook it, stat. It’s bad enough when I forget about fresh produce from the market in the fridge and have to throw it out, but the thought of having to toss 2 lbs of farm fresh ground lamb? Crying jag would ensue.
Without ‘grill man’ (insert husband here) around (yeah I can grill, but don’t like to step on his domain), needed to go with the indoor cooking. So it’s meat. But needs to be cooked fast, elst no air conditioning in the world will cool things down. Hummmm. Got it, keftdes. Say what? Little ‘Greek’ meatballs that are a favorite meze (tapas, appetizer, you get the idea) in Greece, that combine meat (lamb my fav), spices and onion. All this should take under 10 minutes in a skillet. Yep, that’s bearable on a 95 plus degree day.
(Little secret for those that don’t know me, I LOVE the heat, so maybe even that 10 minutes at the stovetop would be too much for those of you a bit more intolerant of the heat, just sayin’)
What started out as straight up keftdes, became a bit more fusion, more of a keftdes meets kofta (middle eastern meatball). Having made them before, but wanting to change it up a bit, I read through a number of recipes. What happened, per usual, is a little bit of this and a little bit of that from a number of recipes, and what resulted is my own version of a Mediterranean-Middle Eastern meatball. Served up with a squeeze of lemon, some homemade tzatziki (the cooling element on the hot day), and a glass of rose -’tis the season after all.
Mo’s Mediterranean-Middle Eastern Meatballs
1 lb ground lamb (used both Mint Creek Farms’ and Catalpa Grove Farms’)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c white bread crumbs (dry or day old)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons finely chopped green garlic (regular garlic or dried will sub when green not in season)
2-3 tablespoons toasted walnuts or pinenuts, chopped (nut allergies? omit)
pinch each of cumin and cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Za-atar blend (love that add of sumac and sesame)
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (for brushing on cooked meatballs)
lemon wedges (for serving)
Combine all ingredients (sans the olive oil, pom molasses and lemon wedges) in a large mixing bowl. Don’t be shy, use your hands to really get everything evenly mixed. Back to the hands, form small meatballs, say about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of meat mixture. Once meatballs are all formed, heat some (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in a large skillet, over a medium flame. Place meatballs in the skillet, turning them over after about 2-3 minutes. Another 3 minutes and they should be done.
Place on paper towel covered plate to drain oil. Immediately brush with some pomegranate molasses (shout out to NY Times Dining Guide for that idea). Serve with lemon wedges.