It is unequivocally spring around here, and every day it’s as if there’s something new to savor: longer days, warmer weather, the trees finally budding back to life and offering some gorgeous color. I try to keep reminding myself of this while I’ve been struggling with some writer’s block recently for a variety of reasons ranging from being busy with social engagements to feeling ennui in the spring, and the latter feeling is totally bullshit. Spring should be the last season in which ennui should be able to take hold of me, because for once everything I love is coming back: the light, the lush greenery, and the better produce. How can I struggle with existential crises when spring onions are back in the market?
(OK, there’s one reason to feel this way this year. A bigly one, if you will.) But I’m trying to push through all of that bullshit (making calls with the help of 5 Calls helps) and you know what? Inspiration came from an unexpected place. Michael had stopped at the Teet earlier this week to get some ground lamb for meatballs before he went on a run around the neighborhood, and by the time I rolled them out, it hit me that between the lamb and all of the herbs in the balls themselves and in the yogurt sauce I was dreaming up that this dish was all but spring on a plate. It was enough to get me to take out my camera and snap some photos, and you can tell that this was a spontaneous shoot because it was only when I was editing them that I realized I should have speared one of my snail forks or a few bamboo toothpicks into a few of them to make them a little more visually appealing, but c’est la vie.
Lamb and herb meatballs with lemon and herb yogurt sauce
Serves 2 as a hearty dinner with salad, can serve 4 as an appetizer
- 1 lb ground lamb
- 1 egg
- 1 medium sweet onion, grated and excess moisture squeezed out
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mint, minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, divided
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup full-fat or 2% Greek yogurt (Fage is our preferred brand for this)
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons mint, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, minced
- Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with foil and top with a wire cooling rack.
To make the meatballs: combine all ingredients for the meatballs (save for 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl and stir well with hands to combine. If the mixture is still a little wet, add more breadcrumbs as needed and continue to mix until well-combined. Roll out the meatballs into golf-size balls for an entrée or smaller if serving as part of an appetizer and place them on the cooling rack. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until they hit an internal temperature of 165 degrees; remove the pan from the oven and let them rest for about 5 minutes.
While the meatballs bake, make the yogurt sauce: combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mix well to combine, seasoning with salt as needed. When plating, place sauce on bottom of plate or bowl and then top with rested meatballs. Serve immediately.