Turkey Meatball Appetizer Recipe


My childhood friend Alexia and her husband Olivier are visiting this week. I’ve been cooking with whatever is available in our vegetable garden. Olivier harvested lots of ripe radishes and we gathered the “fanes de radish” (the leaves) and made an almond pesto.

I served turkey meatball appetizers sandwiched between the pesto (that acted like a glue) and slices of radish. I garnished the appetizers with sliced almonds as a reminder of the flavor of the pesto.

My French guests are loving California cuisine!

1. Info for Turkey Meatball Appetizer Recipe

  • Cook Time: unavailable
  • Total Time: unavailable
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: unavailable

2. Ingredients for Turkey Meatball Appetizer Recipe

  • 1 pound ground turkey (I used dark meat)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons horseradish mustard
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (see tips)
  • 1 cup Chex honey nut cereal (or breadcrumbs)
  • 4 radishes with leaves
  • 1 lemon, zested and freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil

3. Directions:

3.1 Prepping the meat

Grind the honey cereal in a food processor. Pulse until mealy. Set aside.

I used dark meat because I wanted the meatballs to be moist and flavorful. Cut the meat into 1½” cubes and place the meat in a meat grinder (I used a Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment but if you don’t have one, you could use a food processor). Note: Any ground meat would work fine.

3.2 Making meatballs

In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Brown 1 clove garlic. Transfer the garlic to the ground meat, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.

Combine the egg, cayenne powder and sea salt. Beat the egg with a fork.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, egg mixture, chopped onions, mustard, 1 tablespoon parsley and fresh mint.

Mix well and season with the spices. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

3.3 Checking the seasoning

In a small pan, heat about 1 teaspoon of canola oil. Add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Cook for about 2 minutes. Taste the meat. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.

3.4 Pan-frying the meatballs

Grease disposable gloves with oil. Roll the mixture into 16 balls and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Chill them in the freezer for 20 minutes (this step will make cooking the meatballs much easier).

Remove the meatballs from the freezer. You can cook them right from the freezer.

Using the same non-stick frying pan, add more oil and pan-fry the meatballs until they’re slightly browned; flip them and brown the other side as well, for a total of 5 minutes. Carefully remove to a platter lined with paper towels.

3.5 For the pesto

Reserve a few almond slices

Blanch (dip for 10 seconds in boiling, salted water then transfer to an ice-cold bath) the radish leaves and 3 tablespoons parsley; drain, pat dry on a paper towel and roughly chop. In a mini-food processor or mini-blender, combine the greens, remaining garlic, Asiago cheese, almonds, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Pulse and slowly add almond oil until it becomes a smooth paste. Add about 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or more) of water if necessary, for a smoother flow. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover the top with more vegetable oil. Serve at room temperature.

3.6 Assembly

Line up the radish slices. Pipe 1 teaspoon of pesto on each slice and top with a meatball. Pipe more pesto and close the sandwich appetizer with another radish slice. Pipe a tiny mound on top of the appetizer and garnish with the reserved almonds.

Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

4. Tips and advices:

  • For a milder taste, you could use other greens such as arugula, spinach or basil instead.
  • You could use other nuts such as roasted pistachios.
  • You can use the leftover pesto to flavor pasta, rice, salad dressing or appetizers. It also tastes great on radishes themselves, with a little butter.

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