Blended Moroccan Meatballs with Harissa Aioli
Source: Culinary Institute of America
Meatballs and burgers made with a mushroom-ground meat blend adapt well to global spins. Here, Moroccan flavors infuse the blend, which can be based on turkey, beef, pork or chicken mixed in a 50-50 ratio with finely chopped fresh mushrooms. The mushrooms add moisture, texture and umami—a savory taste—to the meatballs. An aioli made with harissa, a North African red pepper sauce, adds a shot of heat and color.
1 lb. button mushrooms, finely minced, sauteed and cooled
1 lb. ground meat (turkey, chicken, pork or beef)
½ cup bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp. harissa paste
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 cup vegetable or olive oil, for frying
Spicy harissa aioli
4 egg yolks
4 large cloves garlic peeled and pureed
1 tbsp. harissa paste
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1. In large mixing bowl, combine mushrooms and meat. Add bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, spices and lemon zest. Mix gently to combine until mixture holds together.
2. Shape about ¼ cup of mixture into a patty, a little wider than it is thick. If it falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more bread crumbs. Shape mixture into balls about the size of a walnut; transfer to a plate. Chill at least 30 minutes before frying.
3. Meanwhile, prepare harissa aioli: In food processor container, combine egg yoks, pureed garlic and harissa paste. With machine running, slowly drizzle in vegetable and olive oils. Once all the oil is added, stop the processor and check for consistency. If too thick, whisk in a little water to thin as needed. Add salt and taste for balance. Cover and set aside.
4. When meatballs are chilled, pour enough oil in a heavy frying pan to a depth of about ½ inch. Heat oil over low heat until surface begins to ripple and look hazy and temperature reaches 350 F.
5. Add meatballs to hot oil, leaving space in between so they brown evenly. Cook meatballs on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook on second side about 3 minutes longer until golden brown and cooked through.
6. With slotted spoon, remove meatballs from oil and drain on paper towels. Arrange on plate and drizzle with harissa aioli.
Photograph courtesy of Culinary Institute of America