Turkey Fig Meatballs with Pickled Veggies + Spicy Mayo
While living in the Golden State, I followed (and still do) several regional and statewide organizations such as grape and nut growers, fruit fresh associations, farms and orchards, as well as the California Dried Plums. Their site has a Recipe section and I remember receiving a stack of their recipe cards in a gift basket and it really made a good impression on me. I loved that they were trying to diversify how to use dried plums. Now I am a big dried fruit fan so there's no convincing me to snack on dried plums or use them in a recipe. As much as I'm a fan, we don't have them handy very often. I'm not sure why. We have raisins for oatmeal and baking. We have dates for snacking and as a dessert replacement. I need to add them to my grocery list! I apologize to the California Dried Plums because when I found this recipe for Vietnamese Turkey Meatball Banh Mi Sandwiches, I was sold but had to improvise with what I had on hand. On a couple different occasions, it has been plum baby food puree (!) as well as fig jam. The fig jam substitute has been my favorite.
Ingredients - Serves 4-5
adapted from this recipe
1 pound ground turkey thigh
1/4 cup fig jam
3 tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4-5 sandwich rolls, 8-10" long (I recommend a baguette, torta, or banh mi bread)
2 jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced and remove seeds if desired
20 sprigs cilantro
Carrot and daikon pickles: 1-2 large carrots, 1 small daikon, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt
- In a bowl, combine ground turkey thigh, fig jam, green onions, fish sauce, minced garlic, Sriracha sauce, and sea salt. Use your hands to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to make it easier to work with later. Side note: fish sauce is highly recommended here but I've also used soy sauce as a replacement.
- While the turkey mixture is chilling, prepare the pickled veggies by julienning the carrots and daikon. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt - stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature. When cool, in a nonreactive bowl, pour over the julienned carrots and daikon and let set for at least an hour if serving shortly thereafter. Or store in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the turkey mixture from the refrigerator and form into 20 meatballs. Use your hands here and also wetting your fingertips with water, helps lessen the stickiness. Place on a foil (sprayed with cooking spray), parchment paper, or a Silpat covered baking pan for easier removal and less mess to clean up after baking. Bake meatballs 15-17 minutes or until cooked through.
- To prepare sandwich, halve the roll and spread Sriracha mayo on both sides. On the bottom roll, place the jalapeno slices, cilantro sprigs, pickled veggies, and 4-5 meatballs, top with the other half of the roll. As recommended above - baguette, torta roll, and banh mi bread are the three top choices here. I've also used an English muffin but its just not the same.
*Sriracha mayo - simply mix mayo with a couple squirts of Sriracha. I've been using the Ninja Squirrel Sriracha brand. You can also purchase prepared Sriracha mayo in the condiment aisle of the grocery store.
I've also made this dish into a salad by topping some mixed greens with the pickled veggies, jalapeno (diced), cilantro, and turkey meatballs - I thinned out the Sriracha mayo with the pickling liquid from the veggies for a makeshift dressing. The low carb version ended up being delicious.