These were so freakin' good, but they were work! Of course, I made them on the hottest day of the summer and refused to use the oven or a fry pan for anything more than frying the meatballs, so I had to stand over the grill on the terrace rather than heat the house more than necessary. I had to have these little bites, though. The recipe comes from a Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook - his first one.
You know how Ottolenghi has a million ingredients and a bunch of nit-picky steps? Yeah. You gotta follow them to get the little tweeks of flavour that YO is known for. If you don't want to step up to the plate, then tell some of your foodie friends and maybe they'll make these little guys for you. If, however, you buy into the idea fiddling with blackened corn and its smoky flavour, roasted red peppers, sliced and diced garlic and herbs, some chili spice in there and a nice roasty sauce of red peppers and herbs, then have at it!
Dinner was so good that SB and I scarfed the entire recipe ... no lunch leftovers for us! We assuaged our guilt for eating fried food by having sides of steamed corn and green beans. Actually, there really wasn't THAT much guilt. It was summer on the plate!
Yotam Ottolenghi's Turkey and Corn Meatballs
Dipping Sauce Ingredients:
4 sweet red peppers, roasted and blackened on the grill
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 oz. cilantro leaves and stems, washed torn up
1 small mild chili, minced
2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 ears of corn, roasted, and blackened on the grill, kernels cut off and cooled (2/3 cup of the kernels)
3 slices stale bread, crusts torn off
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 large egg
4 green onions, minced
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
2 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 large clove garlic, minced
canola or sunflower oil for frying
Making the Dish:
1. Heat your grill at top temperature for several minutes. Then, lay the peppers and ears of corn on a veggie grill pan, and leave them to roast and blacken, turning every so often to get all sides nicely charred.
2. While the veggies grill, do the slice and dice on the other ingredients for the sauce. Place everything in a blender and move on to prepping the meatball ingredients. Don't forget to turn the veggies now and then!
3. Place the broken up bread in a small dish. Dampen with some water and smash the bread around a bit to get it softened. Turn it into a deep bowl and add the rest of the meatball ingredients. Refrigerate until you can add the corn kernels.
4. When the peppers and corn are roasted, cut the corn off the kernels and let it cool.
5. Slice the stems and seed orb out of the peppers. Halve them lengthwise and spread them open. Scrape out the veins and any other seeds and add the peppers, skins and all, to the blender. Strain the juices into the blender too.
6. Whiz the red pepper sauce until its smooth and flecked with bits of green cilantro and black bits from the skins.
7. Pour some of the sauce into small dipping bowls and set them beside the dinner plates. Refrigerate or freeze the rest of the sauce.
8. Coarsely chop the corn and add the 2/3 cup measure to the meatball mix. Smush everything together really well. Wet your hands and make meatballs that are the size of a golf ball.
9. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 1/4 inch oil in a deep heavy fry pan over medium-high heat. Line an oven proof serving platter with paper towels or brown paper and set it by your fry station.
10. Fry the meatballs in two batches until they are golden brown, turning them as needed to get them golden all around. Drain them on the paper-lined platter.
11. Place the finished meatballs in the oven for 5 minutes to finish them off and to let them drain well on the paper lined platter.
12. Serve piping hot with the cooled dipping sauce.
If you like a bit of heat to your dipping sauce, use a small hot chili and a half measure of the hot Thai red chili-garlic sauce. That sub totally adds zing!
When I think about it, these meatballs would be such a great addition to a tapas/mezze night or part of a big party spread (if you doubled or tripled the meatball part of the recipe. There would be plenty of dipping sauce for a triple of the meatball recipe.)