When I was little, I read a children’s book called “The Way Meat Loves Salt”. When I wrote in a birthday card to my mom: “I love you the way meat loves salt” she thought I was pretty clever for thinking of such a realistic analogy at such a young age. I confessed it was a line out of a book I’d read and we often still joke about loving each other like meat and salt. But meat does love salt and it is a perfect union, we omnivores know this. So too is lamb and mint, a combination which I’d like to endorse here.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t cook a lot of meat for myself. My memories of lamb are filled with mint jelly and horseradish–so mostly sweet and occasionally bitter. Bitter when it gets cooked too tough and sweet in a literal sense from the totally sugar-filled and artificially colored green mint jelly. Mint jelly was never really my jam, so to speak, but once in a while with a rack of lamb it hit the spot. I only ever used to eat lamb this way and at my grandparents’ house though I imagine if you go to England you can find a similar preparation.
But the Brits weren’t the only ones onto this umami combo. A recent trip to Vios, arguably the most delicious restaurant in Seattle, not only reminded me just how much I love lamb meat, but also how it can be paired with yogurt/tzatziki sauce and mint in another way.
Eating lamb always feels very luxurious to me, so I figured I might as well use a kind a like from a place I trust. I didn’t want to mess up something as large and ambitious as rack of lamb so I opted to make lamb meatballs with minty sides. ‘Twas delicious. LAMB+MINT= match made in food heaven. This was a fairly improvised dish, and I went by taste and feel to see how I liked things. No measurements! Sorry.
ground lamb meat
matzo meal (or bread crumbs or panko)
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
plain Greek yogurt (sour cream would be good too)
juice of half a lemon
lotsa chopped fresh mint!
Optional (but highly recommended) Rice with mint:
Add chopped mint to rice, self explanatory.
In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil and add chopped tomatoes, zucchini, garlic (or tomato sauce). Season with salt and pepper and let vegetables get pretty soft before adding the meatballs. To make the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a bowl and then roll the mixture into small-ish round shapes. Place meatballs in the skillet with the vegetables and let them cook through, turning every so often to get even coverage. Add lemon, garlic, and mint to yogurt or sour cream and you have dipping sauce! Minty rice is optional and mint garnish if you want to take the mint thing to the mintiest level.