Grilled Albondigas with Charred Salsa

Rick Martinez

  • People

    Serves 4 to 6

  • Prep Time

    1:15 h

  • Grilling Time

    10 to 13 mins


the Ingredients

Grilled Albondigas Rick Martinez V B


  • 10 large Roma tomatoes (2 lb/990 g), cored
  • 3 large jalapeño peppers, stemmed
  • ¼ large white onion (5.7 oz/162 g)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Sea salt


  • 1 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs
  • .330 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (1.7 oz/50 g), plus more for serving
  • ¼ large white onion (5.7 oz/162 g), grated on the large holes of a box grater
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • Sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ cup crema or sour cream
  • 1 egg, beaten to blend
  • 2 pounds ground beef (20% fat)
  • Olive oil for shaping
  • Large, soft, loaf French bread, cut lengthwise

Charred Jalapeño Popper Queso

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3 jalapenos, charred, stemmed and chopped
  • ½ cup crema, sour cream or heavy cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pound sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • ½ cup pickled jalapenos, finely chopped, and 1/3 cup pickled jalapeno juice

Take Your Grilling Anywhere




  • Prepare a grill for high heat and clean grates. Grill tomatoes, jalapeños and ¼ onion until charred on all sides, about 4 minute per side for the tomatoes, 2 minutes for the jalapeños and 3 minutes for the onion. Transfer to the jar of a blender and add garlic and 2 teaspoons salt. Puree on medium-low speed until almost smooth. Don’t be tempted to increase the speed or you will get an airy, smoothie consistency; it’s better to have a chunky salsa than a smoothie! Set the salsa aside until ready to use.
  • Albondigas

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the panko, cilantro, ¼ grated onion, garlic, 2 ¼ teaspoons salt(0.31 oz/9 g), black pepper, and cumin until combined. Stir in the crema and set aside. Add beef to the bowl and stir to combine.
  • Lightly oil your hands. Working with one at a time, scoop out portions of the meat mixture with a ¼ cup measuring cup or very large ice cream scoop. Roll the meat mixture gently between your hands into balls and arrange them on a sheet pan. Drizzle with oil.
  • Reduce heat on grill to medium high. Grill albondigas, rolling them occasionally and turning until browned on all sides and cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a sheet tray. Set aside until ready to assemble.
  • Toast both halves of French bread until charred on both sides, about 90 seconds per side.
  • Arrange albondigas on the bottom half of the French bread. Top with charred salsa then drizzle on queso. Close the lid and cut into 4-inch sandwiches and serve.
  • Charred Jalapeño Popper Queso

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook garlic until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the crema and cream cheese and stir until melted. Whisk in the Cheddar and stir until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the charred jalapenos, pickled jalapenos and pickled jalapeno juice.

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