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Lamb Meatballs with Fresh Herbs Recipe


Laocoon image

“Then all day long until sunset we sat dining on a bounty of meat and fine wine, and then we went to sleep on the beach.” — Homer, Odyssey

Garum, a fermented fish sauce, was first produced by the Greeks and appears prominently in Apicius’ recipes. The manufacture and export of garum was an element of prosperity in ancient Greek coasts. — Maite Gomez-Réjon.

Adapted from the ArtBites tour of The Huntington Musuem.

*Note: Pictured is one of the works of art that inspired this recipe.


  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • 12 ounces ground lamb
  • ¼ cup mint, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon basil, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Cook the onion in a little olive oil until translucent. Mix together the cooked onion, breadcrumbs, meat, chopped herbs, vinegar, fish sauce, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Roll the meat with your hands into balls the size of walnuts.

Pour olive oil in a large skillet and place over medium-high heat. Sauté as many meatballs as will fit, but don't crowd them or they will steam and not brown. Transfer cooked meatballs to a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

Arrange on a platter and serve.


Click here to see the Eating Through the Ages: A Museum and Culinary Tour story.