Once I’d made my way through all 320-pages of Deb Perelman’s new book The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I knew a couple things (1) this would be a frequent resource for meals (2) her Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs on page 167 were going to take precedence over all else – even the Almond Date Breakfast Bars on page 21. I’m a real spaghetti and meatballs kind of gal. Inarguably it is one of the easiest comfort foods to prepare and loved by all. Don’t you agree?
The results of Perelman’s meatball recipe were delicious, and based on the success I’ve had thus far with her recipes (till now, from her blog) my guess is many a contribution to the dining table are going to come from her book. For those of you not familiar with Deb Perelman, she is a home cook who blogs about cooking in a “tiny kitchen in Manhattan” and takes beautiful photos of the food she makes. She didn’t go to cooking school, doesn’t use a lot of fancy gadgets, and doesn’t write about stuff like foraging for ingredients in the woods of Maine to make Mushroom Bourguignon. What she does remarkably well is create simple to make recipes and offer warmly written instructions. Her blog is a place to have fun, not be judged and I for one am all for it. Let’s keep it super simple. That’s who I am in my kitchen. Though, granted I’m likely to have made that trek into the woods, because to me that’s even more fun than cooking (and sometimes even eating).
Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs from Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
1 pound ground turkey
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from 1 to 2 slices sandwich bread)
1/4 cup water
1 tsp table salt
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or 1/4 tsp Aleppo red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Olive oil, to coat the pan
Form meatballs. Preheat oven to 400. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork, breaking up the clumps of meat until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Form turkey mixture into 1 1/2 inch, or golf-ball-sized, meatballs, and arrange them on a tray. (Perelman recommends first wetting your hands, making it easier to form the meatballs and keep them from getting sticky. I did this and she’s spot on.)
Cook meatballs. Heat a generous slick of oil in a large ovenproof saute pan with a lid. Brown the meatballs in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan or nudge them before they are nicely browned. These meatballs are soft, so use a gentle hand. Transfer the meatballs to a paper-towel-lined tray, and continue cooking in more batches until they are browned.
Discard the oil, and wipe all but a thin layer from the pan. Return all of the meatballs to the pan, and transfer to preheated oven. Bake until a thermometer reads an internal temperature of 160 to 165, or about 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve with Perelman’s Smashed Chickpea Salad (sorry folks, you’ll have to buy the book for that one).
Yield: Serves 4