Lamb Meatballs with Tahini Dipping Sauce

Makes 32

These bite-size snacks are a riff on traditional Middle Eastern kofte, where ground meat is mixed with herbs and spices, skewered, and grilled. Here, the mixture is formed into rounds the size of Ping-Pong balls, and instead of messy frying or grilling, the whole pan goes into a very hot oven for 10 minutes. You can make quick work of forming balls if you use a small quick-release scoop.

MEATBALLS

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

¼ cup breadcrumbs

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ pound ground lamb

½ pound ground beef

1. Set the oven at 475 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment. In a large bowl, add the garlic, breadcrumbs, egg yolk, milk, salt, pepper, parsley, walnuts, allspice, cumin, and cinnamon, and stir thoroughly to combine. Allow to rest for 5 minutes so the breadcrumbs absorb the moisture.

2. Add the ground lamb and beef to the bowl and gently combine with your hands until the seasonings are evenly distributed. Be careful not to over mix or the meatballs will become tough.

3. Using about a tablespoon of the mixture for each ball, scoop rough forms onto the parchment-lined pan until you’ve used up all the mixture. With wet hands, roll each ball between your palms until smooth. Place pan in oven and bake for 10 minutes.

DIPPING SAUCE

⅓ cup tahini

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic, and water. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if you like. If the mixture seems too thick, add a bit more water.

2. Serve meatballs with cocktail picks and the tahini sauce for dipping.

By Claudia Catalano. Originally published in The Boston Globe.