Wasabi root gives these salmon balls a sharp kick. Dress them up further with toasted sesame seeds.
In his meatball cookbook, Jez Felwick brings a delicious combination of flavors from the street to your home, all made with free-range meat and quality ingredients, bursting with flavor and served with fresh-tasting sauces and sides. The Meatball Cookbook: Great Balls of Fire (Mitchell Beazley, 2013) is Felwick’s collection culminated from his experience as “The Bowler,” a well-known gourmet food cart vendor in London. He gives more than 70 “ballistic” ideas, including original sauces, sides and salads. The following excerpt is a recipe for a different kind of meatball — made with salmon and flavored with hot wasabi.
You can buy this book from the GRIT store: The Meatball Cookbook: Great Balls of Fire.
Wasabi is a Japanese root and comes from the same family as horseradish. When I first saw it I was surprised to find that it isn’t green, as the dye in many store-bought varieties may lead you to believe. I love the hit you get from having slightly too much wasabi; when it connects with the roof of your mouth — eye watering, brain tingling, and sinus-cleansingly great. I have increased my tolerance over time, taking the pain along the way. I love it with salmon, so I had to use it in this recipe. Be careful not to overcook the salmon otherwise it will dry out.
Preparation time 30 minutes, plus freezing. Cooking time 20 minutes.
1lb skinless salmon fillet
1 medium free-range egg
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon diced pickled ginger
1 teaspoon wasabi powder
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
Preheat the oven to 425ºF, and line a large baking pan with nonstick parchment paper.
Cut the salmon into 1-inch cubes and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Once chilled, pulse in a food processor. Don’t overprocess—you want to retain some pieces of fish for texture.
Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the scallions, pickled ginger, wasabi powder, cilantro, lemon juice, soy sauce, breadcrumbs, salt, and a sprinkling of pepper.
Heat a small skillet over high heat. Break off a small amount of the mixture, flatten between your fingers, and fry until cooked. Taste to check the seasoning and add more lemon, ginger, or wasabi powder if necessary.
Mix the two types of sesame seeds together and spread them out on a plate. Form the salmon mixture into 12–16 balls, each about 2 inches in diameter, packing each one firmly. Roll the balls in the sesame seed mixture and place them on the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 10 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through—the balls should begin to brown on the top. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn underneath.
Reprinted with permission from The Meatball Cookbook: Great Balls of Fire by Jez Felwick and published by Mitchell Beazley, 2013. Buy this book from our store: The Meatball Cookbook: Great Balls of Fire.