The Collaroy might be a relative newcomer to Sydney’s northern beaches, but that doesn’t mean its recipes aren’t tried and tested.
As well as his role as executive chef at The Collaroy, Jordan Toft heads up Merivale’s Coogee Pavilion. Prior to this he was head chef at Eveleigh restaurant in Los Angeles. And it was in that West Hollywood kitchen he developed the recipe for lamb meatballs.
What makes these meatballs different? Umami. In Japanese cuisine “umami” (one of the five basic tastes that make up the human palate, the others being sweet, salty, bitter and sour) is the preferred term for “savoury”.
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“The anchovies in the recipe give the meatballs an umami-style hit, which is brought out by making sure the meat isn’t overcooked,” says Toft, who likes to leave the meatballs pink in the middle. “Spooning salsa over the top is another way of getting that savoury, piquant flavour into the dish, and works really well with lamb.”
This recipe requires 45 minutes preparation time, 15 minutes cooking and resting time and serves 6.
Lamb Meatballs by The Collaroy
2kg lamb mince
1/3 large loaf sourdough bread, crust removed
1 small brown onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 sprigs thyme
1 egg, beaten
Grated pecorino cheese (for garnish)
Fresh mint, chopped (for garnish)
50g baby capers
6 anchovy fillets, minced
½ cup chopped parsley
80ml olive oil
30ml red-wine vinegar
Slice bread and soak in enough milk to moisten thoroughly. Sweat onions and garlic in a pan in olive oil with the sprigs of thyme and season with salt and pepper. Once soft, transfer to a tray and cool.
Gently squeeze bread to remove excess milk. Mix bread, onion mixture, egg, and salt and pepper (to taste) into the lamb by hand. Test a small batch on the grill or in a pan to check seasoning.
Shape balls into ovals using a spoon for uniform size, then roll by hand. This mixture should make approximately 30–40 meatballs weighing between 50–60 grams each.
Cook on the grill or in a pan until golden on the outside and slightly pink in the centre.
Just before serving, make a salsa by mixing capers, anchovy fillets, parsley, olive oil and red wine vinegar into a bowl.
To serve, place the meatballs on a plate. Spoon over the salsa and shave pecorino over the top.
If serving the meatballs as a main, roasted pumpkin or potato is an ideal complement. Adding a bitter, crunchy salad – perhaps radicchio lightly dressed with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar – will carry them and keep with the dish’s Mediterranean vibe.
You can also spoon warm breadcrumbs over meatballs and sprinkle freshly chopped mint before serving. If short on time leave out the breadcrumbs and salsa, but consider adding tomatoes to the salad instead.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with We Love Our Lamb.