Turkey-Scallion Meatballs + Smashed Cucumbers

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Turkey-Scallion Meatballs + Smashed Cucumbers

Serves 4  | Prep Time: 20-25 minutes | Cook Time: 20 minutes

 Dark turkey meat always has more flavor and richer in nutrients. This is adapted from a great cook book called Cook Something: recipes to rely on. The addition of cucumbers provides a cooling and crunchy addition.


 For the smashed cucumbers

  • 5 persian cucumbers
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound – 1 1/2 pounds ground dark turkey
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (leave some for optional garnish)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon, sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I like Yugeta soy sauce)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for frying
  • To serve: steamed rice

Chef Tips

Why smash cucumbers; other than the fact that it’s fun? Smashing helps the cell wall of the cucumbers absorb more flavor. When rolling the meatballs be sure your meat is cold and hands are slightly damp; this will make it easier to roll. They can be made a day in advance.


Step 1 (for the smashed cucumbers)

Using a rolling pin (or the back of an empty wine bottle) smash each cumber until the skins of the cumber break. Halve and tear or cut the cucumber where they seams have naturally separated. Place in a colander and lightly season with salt and allow to set for about 10-15 minutes. You’ll see some the natural water extracted over this time. I like to use this technique most times when preparing cucumbers. 

Place into a bowl and combine with the soy sauce, sherry vinegar and olive oil.

Step 2 (for the meatballs)

Combine turkey, scallions, cilantro, egg, sesame oil, soy sauce and several grindings of freshly ground black pepper into a mixing bowl and gently mix with your hands; don’t overhandle. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of meat into your hands and roll into a ball. Arrange on a parchment or plastic lined baking tray in a single layer. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Pour in enough olive oil to coat the surface of a heavy skillet (like cast iron) and heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding the skillet, cook the meatballs in a single layer turning them delicately with an offset spatula or a fork so they cook evenly, until browned all over and cook through. About 8 minutes per batch. Adjust the heat down to medium if needed.

Step 3

Serve meatballs on top of rice and spoon over some of the smashed cucumbers and garnish with some cilantro leaves.