Mix and skewer these meatballs just before cooking–on the grill or under the broiler–for the best texture. Fun for appetizers, you can also make them into a meal over a heap of boiled rice noodles or steamed rice, sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, chopped cilantro. I like to douse them in sweet Thai chile sauce.
Makes 18-20 baby meatballs
1 small shallot, minced
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and very finely chopped (1 tablespoon)
1 stalk lemongrass, minced or 2 tablespoons lemongrass purée (sold in a tube)
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1. Have a sheet pan and wooden skewers on hand and preheat the grill or broiler to high heat.
2. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir with a rubber spatula or your hands until well blended. Use a 1-ounce portion scoop or teaspoon to form the meatballs, a bit smaller than a golf ball. Arrange 4 meatballs on each skewer to make 1 skewer per serving.
3. Grill or broil the meatballs for 5-6 minutes, turning 2-3 times to brown them on all sides. (You can cut one open to make sure that it’s cooked through, which makes a nice sample for the cook.)