Spiced Meatballs and Tomato Crostini {CtBF}


This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays is Spiced Meatballs with Sriracha Sauce.  The meatballs are made from a highly-spiced mixture supposedly similar to merguez sausage.  I don’t think I’ve ever had merguez so can’t compare.  When I described the recipe to my sister Jane, she said “It sounds like it uses everything in the pantry!”

Lots from the pantry, but not everything

Lots from the pantry, but not everything

It didn’t need everything in the pantry, but the ingredient list is long indeed.  Coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, paprika, cinnamon, allspice, and sumac from the pantry plus garlic, cilantro, and Sriracha.  All these seasonings are mixed together with ground meat.  I opted to use ground lamb.  We had a beef-heavy week, and my palette longed for something different.


This recipe is intended as an appetizer, but I decided to turn it into a meal.  For carefree cooking, I ended up baking the meatballs while I prepared the rest of the menu.  The North African meatballs with the two sauces were delicious with couscous and sautéed greens on the side.  All the different flavors came through.  The meatballs were moist and complex with a bit of a kick, but not too spicy.


I thought the Sriracha sauce might be too spicy for Howard so I also made the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce.  I don’t know whether this is true at all grocery stores, but when I tried to buy a small (individual) sized tub of plain yogurt, I discovered that the yogurt section at my local store is at least 90% Greek yogurt.  Any available tubs of the thinner “regular” (non-Greek) yogurt I was trying to buy were fruit-flavored.  No worries: Greek yogurt works just fine.  And, much to my surprise, Howard preferred the Sriracha sauce while I was on Team Yogurt-Tahini Sauce.

I was away the week of our last CtBF post.  Howard and I spent a fun-filled week in Québec.  We enjoyed wandering in both Montreal and Quebec City.  The food we ate everywhere, highbrow and low, was amazing.  In Quebec City, we ate at Restauarant Toast! whose tagline is the name of my blog, in French!

A Plateful of Happiness

A Plateful of Happiness

I didn’t get a chance to make the Cherry Tomato Crostini with Herbed Cheese until after our return.  I’m sorry that I procrastinated.  I loved every part of the crostini, separately and together.

For the herbed cheese, I already had Greek yogurt (cow’s milk) so I didn’t bother to seek out goat’s milk yogurt.  And I skipped the straining step since the Greek yogurt has already been strained.  The yogurt is flavored with garlic and assorted fresh herbs which is a delicious spread, not only on the crostinis, but also alone on crackers.

The cherry tomato topping was also fabulous.  My cherry tomato has been slow to ripen, but I found a colorful assortment at a local farm. The sweetness of the cherry tomatoes concentrated during roasting and melded with the fragrant herb sprigs for a meltingly wonderful mélange.


Toasted rustic bread (I used ciabatta) is the base for a layer of herby cheese crowned with roasted cherry tomatoes.  It’s summer on toast.


I liked the topping so much that I have plans this weekend to make another batch for a savory tart.  Can’t wait.

Click these links, if you’d like to read about others’ experiences with spiced meatballs or tomato crostini.  To make them yourself (which I highly recommend), you can find the meatball recipe on page 74 and the crostini recipe on page 110 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.


Posted on 2 September 2016, in Cook The Book Fridays, Lamb, my paris kitchen, tomatoes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Hi Betsy!

    Lovely baked meatballs you have there! Personally, I prefer the yogurt sauce. Love love the colors of your tomatoes. Both dishes look excellent!

  2. Your trip to Québec sounded amazing (next time, come a little further east, ok?) and both these dishes look wonderful. I need to try baking my meatballs next time – think that might help with the slight dryness… But the flavours were amazing!

  3. Sunday morning in an Italian kitchen, frying meatballs with oil and garlic….. that was the one
    thing that got my son out of bed. I don’t know why, but my kids, big and small, all think my
    meatballs are the greatest. (I don’t) However, they eat so many straight out of the frying pan,
    I’m lucky I have enough to put in the sauce for pasta. Anyway, these were a nice change,
    one that Tricia’s son approved. That’s all that counts.

  4. Summer vacation, assortment of tomatoes, and turning out almost the entire pantry for the lamb meatballs speak for a busy summer kitchen. They are all good looking dishes!

  5. peggygilbey814628432

    Hi Betsy, this weeks meatballs look and sound delicious! I love the spice flavor combination and the use of the hot sauce. Your crostini looks delish too, anything on a good slice of bread is right up my alley, including some fresh colored tomatoes!

  6. Loved that you stumbled onto your namesake in Quebec. What a great choice of cities for a week’s vacation. Hopefully both of you are not missing Maine too much. (I’m speaking to you, Howard!) It is nice to have choices and a second home somewhat curtails that. I surprisingly enjoyed these meatballs. I used lamb also and will stick with that. Just seems more genuine…to me, at least. Couscous is a good idea. Everyone has served these in so many different ways. And, the tomatoes. I’ve already made two batches. I know you like to make tarts so this will be an especially tasty one.

  7. I’m glad you had a wonderful holiday in Québec! I would have used lamb for the meatballs, if I didn’t want to use the moose mince I had on hand. I want to try the yogurt-tahini sauce some time, but my family loved the sambal oelek mayo, so it can wait. And the strained yogurt is going to become a regular thing in my house, especially with those roasted tomatoes. I’m roasting some tomatoes tonight, as my parents’ harvest is out-of-control right now. I wish I’d thought to strain some yogurt, too!

  8. Glad to hear that you had a great time in Quebec! Your crostini looks wonderful and I’m wishing I have some to enjoy right now!
    We love the meatballs too, delicious! We had it with rice and it was good!

  9. Betsy, Québec sounds lovely…I have never been there. However, Bill and I spent about 9 days in Cape Breton, N.S. this summer. I love the natural beauty of Cape Breton. A beautiful place to visit.
    Your meatballs look delicious! I also opted for lamb. I loved the flavor the spices imparted…I went easy on the harissa because Bill is not a lover of very spicy foods. I thought they were great! I really enjoyed the yogurt-tahini sauce.
    Have a great weekend!

  10. Quebec is one of my favorite places!

    Oh man, that crostini. Actually, all the dishes we’ve made over the last 4-5 selections have been pretty universally fabulous. I appreciated that the mayo wasn’t too spicy hot, and am bummed I didn’t get a chance to do the tahini dip. Next time! I made a last-minute round of these, lamb only, last night for a Labor Day party and they were one within 10 minutes of me arriving. :)

  11. We adored the crostini too. I made the yogurt tahini sauce and loved it. Both are fantastic recipes!

  12. We enjoyed both of these recipes too. I am glad you tried the yogurt-tahini sauce; I was feeling a bit too lazy to try it. I agree with you about loving every part of the crostini. I can see myself making parts of it, both separately and together, again.

  13. What a fun visit you had! And then you came home to a couple of great recipes!! I loved the meatballs too – made with lamb, baked. I only made the Sriracha mayo sauce. The other sounds good – not sure how well it would go over here.

    And the tomatoes! wasn’t that dish great? your photo of the tomatoes and basil looks so tempting! Happy that you enjoyed that dish too!

  14. Wow, what a fantastic trip!! I have never been to Quebec, but would love to go. I did not bake mine, used the pan fry method and it turned out well. You were ambitious to make both sauces, I just did the mayonnaise and really loved it. The tomato crostini is great- isn’t it!!

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