Meatballs have to be in my top five favorite dishes to make for Tapas Monday. There are a number of reasons for this. First, meatballs are a great small bite food. (Of course, for my husband one meatball is a bite, for me it is three or four, but I digress.) Second, my husband loves the meatballs that I make. Third, I find the basic recipe for meatballs to be a terrific vehicle for experimentation. Ground meat, seasonings, and additional flavors equal a tasty bite.
The other week I had ground turkey on my mind. I was looking for something lighter and healthier. When I think of turkey, my go-to seasoning is sage. I love the way the two pair and bring a nostalgia for Thanksgiving. I wanted to add more dimension to the meatball than that, so I thought about additional ingredients to use. Apple seemed like a natural choice. The bigger decision was how to incorporate the apple
Dicing the apple could work, but it could add an odd texture. Would the little cubes of apple be squishy after baking, or would they be too firm? Would these pieces of apple incorporate nicely into the meatball? I decided that rather than experiment with diced apple, I would use shredded apple. This seemed to be a good choice in that I could remove some of the extra moisture by squeezing some liquid out of the shredded apple before adding it to the meat mixture. However, that also removed some of the apple taste. The next time I make this recipe, I will use a whole apple and squeeze a little less juice out. I may need to add a pinch more breadcrumbs, but I think the flavor should be better accented.
- 3/4 apple, peeled
- 1-1/4 lb. ground turkey
- 3 pieces of bread, ground into crumbs
- 1 egg
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tb. flax seed
- 2-1/2 tsp. dried sage
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 400. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Shred apple on the course grate side of a box grater.
- Squeeze extra liquid out of shredded apple, so that it is still moist but not wet.
- Combine turkey, apple, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, flax seed, and sage in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using hands, mix until ingredients are well combined. Form into small meatballs, about the size of a walnut.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Makes 24-30 meatballs.