Lamb Meatballs with Fresh Herbs Recipe

Staff Writer
Lamb Meatballs with Fresh Herbs Recipe
Laocoon image
The Hungtington Museum

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.

Deliver Ingredients


  • 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.

Lamb Shopping Tip

Look for meat that is bright red. Red meat turns paler as the hemoglobin within releases oxygen – a sign that the meat has been sitting too long at the butcher's counter.

Lamb Cooking Tip

When browning meat, resist the urge to move the meat – you must allow a flavorful crust to form over high heat. Once it has formed, the meat should slide freely with the shake of a pan.

Lamb Wine Pairing

Most red wines, especially cabernet sauvignon, but also including cabernet franc, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nebbiolo, nero d'avola, primitivo, barbera, and sangiovese.