I realized when I made these exceptionally tasty burgers (from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jersualem cookbook), that I almost never eat zucchini or include it in my recipes. I'm not sure why, but It is so integral to the deliciousness of this dish, I've vowed to change that. Between the zucchini, mint, cilantro, green onions, garlic, cumin and cayenne, you nearly forget there's turkey in these yummy meatballs. (I'd make them with ground lamb, as well.) The lemony, creamy sauce (which I make with yogurt only, no sour cream) is the perfect compliment to the vividly flavorful burgers. I served toasted naan on the side, plus grilled asparagus and a green salad. Rather than making 18 mini meatballs, as the recipe suggests, I make 9 medium-sized ones. If you're fortunate enough to have leftovers, they make a divine lunch served at room temperature, as well!
Makes 4 Servings
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 large zucchini, coarsely grated (scant 2 cups)
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large free-range egg
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed (I chop it finely)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- About 6 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil, for searing
- Scant 1/2 cup sour cream (I used plain Greek yogurt here and below)
- Scant 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sumac
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- First make the sour cream sauce (or yogurt sauce) by placing all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside or chill until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs except the sunflower oil. Mix with your hands and then shape into about 18 burgers, each weighing about 1 1/2 oz. (I make 9 burgers when I'm feeding four or fewer people).
- Pour enough sunflower oil into a large frying pan to form a layer about 1/16 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.
- Carefully transfer the seared meatballs to a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and place in the over for 5 to 7 minutes, or until just cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over or on the side.