(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Sliders, perhaps draped in caramelized onions and exotic cheeses atop artisan rolls, are not just for chic nights out at bistros anymore. The tiny treat burgers are, of course, even quicker than bigger thinner patties to grill up at home and a memorable way to slide into grilling season.
Just buy preformed similarly sized patties or ground meat and form your own. Like in cafes, feel free to make them not only from good cuts of beef, like Angus, but ground turkey, pork, veal, lamb, chicken, turkey or seafood or a mixture.
Like everywhere from the new crop of gourmet "gastropubs" to casual neighborhood chains like Applebee's, you can serve them up as bottomless appetizers or the more recent move to full-meal, multi-burger, single-serving platters --- perhaps with a mix-and-match of accompaniments.
With one larger burger it can get boring, however, with a platter of small sliders per diner, the crowning touches can seem endless.
Creative toppings are a signature of sliders. Food Network star Chef Bobby Flay introduced a triple threat of toppings on his competitive "Throwdown" series that you can easily make at home with powerful and compatible flavor punches: creamy queso cheese sauce to drape the burger, followed by dabs of green chile relish and pickled red onions.
The better the meat you use the less adornment you even need. Chef Chris Santos, who has been chef/owner of New York City hotspots The Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex, tries to use the Wagyu type of exclusive Kobe beef, gives it a zip with Worcestershire sauce and then only needs a basic drizzle: barbecue sauce combined with ketchup and mustard.
For the diminutive buns? Small potato rolls are always good, as are multigrain dinner rolls.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
Wagyu Wow Sliders
For slider burgers:
3 pounds ground beef (preferably Wagyu; see Note)
2 ounce Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces butter, softened
8 ounces finely grated cheddar cheese, plus additional small slices for topping, if desired
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
16 potato rolls
2 cups store-bought or homemade barbecue sauce
1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup mustard
Serve on potato rolls.
Yields 6 to 8 servings.
Mix all of the slider burger ingredients together and then mold into 3-ounce patties.
Stir sauce ingredients together and put aside.
Grill burgers on each side until thoroughly cooked, reaching at least an internal temperature of 160 F.
Top with sauce and additional small cheddar slices, if desired.
Serve on potato rolls.
Note: Wagyu can be bought at some supermarkets, butcher shops and from high-quality meat sellers online.
-Chef Chris Santos
Triple Threat Slider Toppings
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
12 ounces Chihuahua or Monterey jack cheese, coarsely grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Green chile relish:
1 medium poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
2 (preferably Hatch) chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced (see Note)
1 (preferably Serrano) chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced (see Note)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pickled red onions:
1 & 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 medium red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
Yields enough toppings for about 8 sliders.
For the queso sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, increase the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese until melted; add the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.
For the relish: Combine all relish ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
For the pickled red onions: Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Put the onions in a medium bowl, pour the vinegar over, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours before serving.
Drape sliders in sauce and then add a little of each additional topping.
Note: When handling chilies, experts recommend wearing rubber gloves and not touching your eyes during or afterward.
-Chef Bobby Flay
, FoodNetwork.comQUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
What could be easier than tossing a few items into a blender and pressing a button? Tess Masters
contends she can make things even simpler in The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts and Drinks
. It's the scope of Masters' tome that's the real draw. Who knew one-pot meals could instead become one-blender meals. If you have only been using your blender to prepare beverages, get ready for innovative, gluten-free, vegan meals, like raw lasagna stacks and spring rolls with orange-almond sauce from life-long "blendaholic" Masters, who teaches you to "soak, not choke" your blender. Lisa Messinger
at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes
(Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet
(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.