In this versatile recipe from Brian Alberg, powerful flavors come together to create a dish that’s at once savory, aromatic and exceptionally rich. What’s great about this preparation, according to Alberg, is that it can be served as a light appetizer with crostini or as a hearty main course accompanied by a creamy risotto or even some fresh naan.
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 bunches kale, cleaned from stems
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- 2 pounds heirloom or Beefsteak tomatoes, quartered
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add in onion and garlic, sauté until translucent.
- Incorporate kale leaves and sauté until wilted. Follow with maple syrup, vinegar, stock. Reduce mixture until tender. Finally, add in butter. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate mixture until cold. When mixture is cold, squeeze out excess liquid from kale and reserve. (The reserved liquid makes a great addition to the tomato puree.)
- Finely chop kale and add to ground lamb, mix until incorporated.
- Cook off a small piece of the ground lamb mixture and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Form meatballs into two ounce balls (they should be smaller than a golf ball). Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
- Sauté meatballs in olive oil until golden brown. Finish in pan on low or in the oven, they only take about four minutes.
- Serve the meatballs, garnished with the tomato puree, in a shallow bowl.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Season the tomatoes with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Place tomatoes flat side down on a sheet pan and roast at until soft and charred, about 25 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a stainless steel or Teflon pan, then sauté garlic and onions. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in Basil leaves. Remove.
- Slowly add the tomato mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Pass through a chinoise, or a fine strainer. Season with salt and pepper.