5 Napkin Meatballs with Rosemary Aioli

June 2, 2014

5 Napkin Meatballs with Rosemary Aioli

The Original 5 Napkin Burger is one of the best burgers in town. Period.
You don’t agree with me? Then bring it on...there’s nothing I like more than discussing what’s the best burger in town.
With my friend Kelly we can argue for hours about it. We are opinionated people, and this is especially true on the subject of burgers.
We have researched long and hard to find the best burger in town.
Some we love, some we like and some we don’t care at all.
Burger Joint at Le Meridien, Corner Bistro, Dram Shop, Black Iron, Burger & Barrel, Bill’s Burger, Shake Shack, are some of our fave.
But year after year, the 5 Napkin Burger still holds a place in our hearts (and stomachs!)

5 Napkin Meatballs with Rosemary Aioli


I first discovered the 5 Napkin Burger almost 6 years when I was still living in Hell’s Kitchen.
On a lazy September Sunday night, I was walking down 9th Avenue when I first noticed the 5 Napkin restaurant. I walked in, got a place at the counter and ordered the signature burger without having a clue about it.
It was love at first sight — more like at first bite. From that moment on, the 5 Napkin Burger has been in in my life.
10 oz fresh ground chuck, gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and rosemary aioli on a soft white roll.
The burger is near perfect. The meat is ground fresh, the doneness is always exactly done to my liking, and the rosemary aioli and onions really complimented the beef without overpowering it.
Awesomeness.
I love the Original 5 Napkin so much today I’ve decided to create a meatball version.
Basically all of the flavors of the burger, minus the bun, and bite-sized.
Sooo, caramelized onions…


Caramelized Onions
...and gruyere cheese mixed with the meat. A couple of other ingredients and BAM! Meatballs.

5 Napkin Meatballs with Rosemary Aioli
Rosemary aioli on the side.
Rosemary Aioli


Cook and BOOM! Dunk the meatballs in the aioli.
Now that’s a sight for sore eyes!

5 Napkin Meatballs with Rosemary Aioli
5 Napkin Meatballs with Rosemary Aioli                                                    Print this recipe! 
Inspired by 5 Napkin Burger

Ingredients
Makes about 20 meatballs

Meatballs

1 lb / 453 gr grass-fed organic ground chuck
4 medium onions, chopped (should yield about ½ cup caramelized onions)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large egg
¼ cup / 0.9 oz / 25 gr almond meal (or gluten-free breadcrumbs such as Gillian’s)
¼ cup / 1 oz / 28 gr grated Gruyere cheese (if you can’t find Gruyere you can use Emmentaler)
2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Rosemary Aioli

1 cup / 5.6 oz / 160 gr mayonnaise (make your own paleo mayo with this recipe)
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

To make caramelized onions, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring every now and then, until onions are soft and golden brown, about 40 minutes.
In a bowl combine Gruyere, egg, caramelized onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Add beef and almond meal (or GF breadcrumbs) and mix gently.
With dampened hands form into 20 balls.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large (preferably non-stick) skillet, over medium heat.
Add meatballs, and cook, turning gently, until browned all side and cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Rosemary Aioli

Coarsely chop garlic, and gather into a pile; sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place flat side of knife blade on top of garlic, with sharp side of blade away from you; press down firmly while pulling knife toward you to create a paste.
Holding rosemary sprigs at their top, slide your fingers down it, to the bottom, to strip off the needles and finely chop them.
Whisk mayo, garlic, rosemary and lemon in small bowl to blend.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The rosemary aioli can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.)

Nutrition facts

One meatball without aioli yields 83 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbs and 5 grams of protein.
One meatball served with one teaspoon of rosemary aioli yields 108 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs and 5 grams of protein.

37 comments :

  1. OMG, looks amazing!

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  2. They look delicious. Hubby loves traditional meatballs, but we don't make them often anymore because I cannot have tomatoes. This would be perfect!! Thanks Mike, dinner is planned!!!

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    1. Thank you Lauren, you're always so kind!

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  3. Yummy! Love the sound of these the rosemary aioli sounds awesome too!

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    1. The rosemary aioli is da bomb...seriously!

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  4. Gorgeous pictures Mike and another great recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Mike, ridiculously great flavoring in these. So easy to make and your pics, amazing as always. On our to-make list.

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  6. The best burger is one argument I know I will loose as (this might be hard to believe, but) I've never had a burger - I think I've had steak once and it was covered with cumin, coriander, chili and garam masala and I have had meatballs a friend made and on occasion beef curry my mom made - but - nope never a burger - though one with caramelized onions does sound pretty darn appealing!

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    1. Thanks a million Shashi, coming from you it means a lot!

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  7. Wow...Mike! That first picture belongs in an art gallery somewhere. Not to mention the fact that these meatballs sound absolutely amazing. I love a good burger...it's probably my #1 comfort food. Hearing about your burger exploits makes me wish I lived closer to the City.

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    1. There's nothing quite like a juicy burger, to me it's one of the best things ever. And thank you for all the compliments on my pictures, I really appreciate them!

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  8. Mike, these look delicious and cannot wait to try them! FYI, you have a pretty serious typo in the "On a lazy September Sunday night, as I was walking on 9th Av...." sentence if you follow it. Just a heads up for your audience ;) ;)

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    1. O.M.G., that was some pretty bad typo, thank you so much for spotting it. I owe you big time!

      PS I should never to write at 6am in the morning, when I'm still half asleep...

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  9. The pictures are breathtaking and those meatballs to die for!

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  10. Mike, I have no idea about the restaurant responsible for the original of this; I'm sure it's nowhere near where I live. Fortunately for us, you have recreated the recipe. It sounds wonderful, and I'm looking forward to trying it.

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    1. There are three locations in NYC, one in Boston and one in Miami...maybe one it's near to where you live?

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  11. Mike you've done it again! Another recipe I must try! Keep up the good work. and Thank you!

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  12. Hi Mike, I don't eat much meat but I have been craving a hamburger something terrible. These look wonderful. Pinned!

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  13. A lovely recipe! I love the sound of that mayo!

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    1. The rosemary aioli is REALLY GOOD, you should totally try it!

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  14. Aioli makes everything taste great, I can make a whole meal out of it! I was salivating at your burger description - caramelized onions + rosemary = doesn't get any better!

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    1. Aioli is the best. We have to give it to the French, they know how to make everything taste better (even mayo).
      And yes, the 5 Napkin Burger is really, really good!

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  15. My mouth is watering! Pinned to make. :)
    Tina from www.tinaschic.com

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  16. I love a good burger and although there are some good tasty ones out there, I'm not sure if I have ever found "the one". The 5 napkin burgers sounds amazing!! I love making aiolis and a rosemary one sounds so good. I also love the addition of caramelized onions. I'm not sure whether I want to make meatballs or burgers out of this, but I will be making it soon!

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  17. Oh goodness... I'm not usually a fan of meatballs, but these... oh my... they look so dense and tasty and satisfying. And seriously, caramelized onions built right in? I'm a fan.

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  18. I love to savor Meatballs with rosemary aioli with my friends. Thanks for wonderful post

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  19. These were amazing! Thanks for the recipe...it is definitely my go-to recipe for (real) meatballs. Now to try your lentil "meatballs!"

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    1. I'm so glad you liked 'em that much, they're among my fave meatballs too!
      And of you make the lentil ones, please report back! :)

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  20. These are simply sublime. Perfection! I avoid nightshades and I was looking for an alternative to the standard italian or Swedish. These are a must make!!!! Love the aioli too. Wow.

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  21. what is the difference between ground beef and chuck? and can i substitute beef for these?

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