Mario’s seem most like the meatballs I grew up eating, the Italian-style ones my mother would make for our Sunday gravy, with the exception that she used beef rather than veal – they were big, tender and simply seasoned with garlic, parsley and Parmesan cheese. I still haven’t nailed down her recipe (she never wrote it down, it seems), but these might come close.
I’ve been playing with the traditional Italian meatball ingredients; switching them out for Asian and Latin flavors. After all, every ethnic cuisine includes seasoned meat rolled into balls.
Even better, meatballs couldn’t be more family-friendly; I like to make a big batch and freeze some for a quick and healthy “emergency” meal, served with brown rice and sauteed spinach.
I use ground turkey thigh in this recipe, it’s a lower-fat alternative to beef and the dark meat produces a juicy meatball.
Turkey Meatballs with Cilantro
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons olive oil
Combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl; soak 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine turkey, onions, cilantro, garlic, egg, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Add breadcrumb mixture and mix until combined; form 1 1/2-inch diameter meatballs.
Heat the oil a 12-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Arrange meatballs in pan and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, 7-10 minutes.
Makes about 2 dozen.