Not-a-meatball teems with garlic, mint and parsley
Kefta, rolled from ground beef or lamb, is not a meatball. Meat oval, meat lollipop, meat blob, perhaps. Not ball.
Cooks often describe them as torpedoes, though the weapon is named after a cigar, and the cigar is named after an electric ray that’s flat below, humped above and topped with small, close-set, menacing eyes. Not something I’d like to find flopping on my carrot salad.
The only commonality these shapes share is that they come to a point, as should I. So: Format kefta however you like, as long as it’s not a sphere, which is wrong. Charred outside, carrying a payload of garlic, mint and parsley, they’re the bomb.
Prep: 30 minutes plus 1 hour to chill
Cook: 6 minutes
Serves: 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main dish
1 plump clove garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound (about 8 large) carrots, peeled, trimmed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons roasted, salted pistachios
Half a yellow onion
1/2 pound ground lamb
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Mash: For the garlic mash, drop garlic into a mortar. Sprinkle on salt. Using pestle, mash to a paste.
Whisk: For the salad, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, cayenne and a scant 1/4 teaspoon of the garlic mash.
Shred: Using the second-largest holes on a box grater or the small shredding disk of a food processor, shred the carrots. Heap into a bowl. Sprinkle on parsley. Pour on lemon dressing. Toss. Chill 1 hour or more.
Mix: For the kefta, grate the onion on the largest holes of a box grater. Scoop up handfuls of onion and squeeze, discarding liquid. In a large bowl, mix together onion, lamb, mint, parsley and the remaining garlic mash. Season with about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Shape: Divide lamb mixture into 8 portions and shape each into a torpedo. If working ahead, chill.
Char: Flick on the range exhaust. Lightly oil a ridged griddle pan, and set over high heat. Add kefta torpedoes, and cook, turning to cook all sides, until charred outside and still a bit pink inside, 6-8 minutes.
Serve: Scoop cold carrot salad onto each of 2 big or 4 small plates. Scatter on pistachios. Top with kefta. Enjoy.