Learning to Cook with 'Basically 10x10': Recipe 7

Learning to Cook with 'Basically 10x10': Recipe 7

The world works in mysterious ways.  Sometimes the things you dread can yield the most outstanding results.  And then sometimes, the things you eagerly anticipate?...well sometimes they can let you down.  How else can I best describe my feelings toward Basically’s 10x10 Crispy Sheet Pan Meatballs, other than...let down?  I’m a huge meatball fan - always have been.  So when I saw these bad boys on the agenda, I was stoked (understatement of the year).  Unfortunately, contrary to the overwhelmingly positive reviews, I was not a fan of these meatballs (that I found to be dry and honestly quite a bit boring). Try them for yourself, let us know how you feel about them, and take a look at my full assessment at the end of this recipe!

Recipe 7: Crispy Sheet-Pan Meatballs with Salsa Verde  

**Assistance images from Basically


  • 2 garlic cloves, divided

  • 2 cups packed mixed herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, basil, and/or dill, divided

  • 3 tbsp drained capers  

  • ¼ cup walnuts

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more

  • 3 tbsp. plus ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

  • 1 lb. ground beef (20% fat)

  • 1 lemon

  • Freshly ground black pepper

What you’ll Need

  • Measuring cups

  • Measuring spoons

  • Microplane

  • Medium bowl

  • Small bowl

  • Chef’s knife

  • Cutting board

  • Whisk

  • Rimmed baking sheet

  • Platter

  • Ladle


1. Place a rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°. Finely grate 1 garlic clove into a medium bowl. Finely grate 1 more garlic clove into a small bowl. (The medium bowl is for your meatball mixture, and the small bowl is for your salsa verde, in case this part seems silly.)

2. Finely chop 2 cups mixed herbs. As we mentioned in the ingredients list, you can use any combo of soft herbs like parsley, dill, basil, and/or cilantro, but if you've only got one that's cool, too—we just love how green and complex they taste when mixed together. Transfer half to same medium bowl, then transfer remaining herbs to same small bowl.

3. Finely chop 3 Tbsp. capers. Transfer 2 Tbsp. capers to medium bowl, then transfer remaining 1 Tbsp. capers to small bowl. Chop ¼ cup walnuts and add to same medium bowl. If you've never added nuts to meatballs, you're in for a real treat; they lend great texture and flavor to the finished dish.

4. Whisk in 1 egg, 1 Tbsp. paprika, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. oil to bowl with walnuts.

5. Using clean hands, mix 1 cup panko into egg mixture. Add beef and continue to mix gently with your hands until incorporated, but do not overmix. This part is key—if you work the mixture too much, the meat will become tough and springy, almost like sausage, so use a gentle hand. Also: At this point, you can pinch off a little piece of the meatball mixture, crisp it in a skillet, and give it a taste to make sure the seasoning is to your liking. This is your last chance to make any tweaks before they all get cooked!

6. Drizzle 2 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roll beef mixture into 1½" balls (about the size of golf balls). Arrange 1" apart on pan.

7. Bake meatballs, shaking pan halfway through, until crispy on all sides, about 10 minutes. One cool thing about using all beef (instead of a beef-pork-veal combo) is that it's totally fine if the meatballs are a little pink in the middle.

8. While meatballs are cooking, you can finish that salsa verde. This is one of our all-time favorite sauces, and is delicious spooned over just about any piece of meat, roasted veg, or bowl of leftovers you can think of. Which is all to say: Get ready to have a lot more salsa verde in your life from here on out. Finely grate lemon zest into bowl with herbs and garlic. Halve the lemon you just zested and squeeze juice into bowl, using your hand to catch any seeds. (You can use a citrus squeezer for this if you've got one.) Add remaining ½ cup oil and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, taste, and add more seasoning if necessary—it should be good and punchy.

9. Transfer meatballs to a platter, and serve with salsa verde alongside.

Assessment: Now, my distaste for these meatballs could, without a doubt, be my fault.  I’m no expert in the category of meat but could my use of 10% ground beef instead of the suggested 20% have made these meatballs so lackluster?  So tasteless? So...not great? The walnuts helped - I enjoyed the crunch - and the salsa verde added some flavor, but overall I found them to be quite dry and just...fine.  Perhaps this recipe deserves another shot, but for now I’m content with storing these meatballs in the folder of previously-made recipes I keep in my kitchen and move on to the next one.  

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