When was the last time you were really surprised by a random act of kindness? Imagine my surprise when my 22 year old nephew showed up at my house for a mother’s day brunch and gifted me with “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottalenghi and Sami Tamimi.
This cookbook is extraordinarily beautiful, just like the sentiment that came along with it.
This cookbook is more like a picture book journey to Israel and the Middle East –the pictures are vivid, intriguing and beg the reader to try something that might be out of their usual comfort zone of cuisine.
For a first try I settled on the Turkey and Zucchini Burgers (page 200) – which is actually a bit of a misnomer because they are really more like delicious meatballs.
I served this dish at a recent family gathering where my nephew was present and was able to share back an act of kindness – to acknowledge his effort with my own of cooking for him. With meatballs on our plates, we settled into intimate talk of what’s going on in his life. Sharing a meal based on an act of kindness, what could be better?
- 1 lb /500 g ground turkey
- 1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (to yield 2 cups/ 200 g in total)
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro (I used the cilantro pesto in the tube)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin (this seasoning makes all the difference!)
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- About 6 1/2 tbsp / 100 ml sunflower oil for searing
Preheat the oven to 425 F degrees/ 220 C. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the meatballs EXCEPT the sunflower oil. One bowl wonder! Mix with your hands and then shape into about 18 burgers or meatballs the size of walnuts.
Pour enough sunflower oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about ½ inch thick on the pan bottom. Heat over medium heat until hot, then sear the meatballs in batches on all sides. Cook each batch for about 4 minutes, adding oil as needed, until golden brown.
I deviated from the recipe here and carefully transferred the seared meatballs to a large platter that was lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Once all your meatballs have been seared, go to STEP 3.
Carefully transfer the seared meatballs to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Place in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature.
These meatballs are great on their own, with a sour cream/Greek yogurt sauce or in the mini buns sold at grocery stores (great hors d’oeuvres for your next informal gathering!). Enjoy!