I’m beginning to think that all we do is experiment. While reading one of Kelly’s posts at Sass and Veracity a while back, I was inspired to make some garlic confit and aioli. The trouble with that is… what the heck do you do with all the garlic confit (about 3 heads’ worth)… and the freshly made aioli (about 1 cups’ worth)? Without preservatives, we have a shelf life of one week.
Enter: Labor Day weekend. With a trip to the farmers’ market, a fridge full of leftovers and both of us on staycation, we were armed with plenty of ingredients (and time!) to fool around with.
Somewhere in between making another batch of garden chicken stock and flaxseed dog biscuits, a $10 gift certificate to Sur La Table came in the mail.
“Hey sweets, can we go to Sur La Table today?”
“I have free money.”
“What are you going to buy?”
“I dunno yet.”
The man will accept any excuse to escape our air-condition-less abode.
So on a sunny Labor Day afternoon, we fearlessly navigated our way down to South Coast Plaza (with the rest of the free world), toured through Crate and Barrel (to replace a placemat from this blog post that the dog ate), stopped in at Pottery Barn to eye a Tuscan dining table we want but can’t afford, and ended up at Sur La Table, where we got suckered into buying a slider maker.
Did that mean we were making sliders for a late lunch? You betcha.
One more stop at the market to buy slider buns, jack cheese and an avocado, and my plan was ready for action.
The recipe below is just for slider # 1, but I can assure you, all three were delicious. In order from left to right:
Slider # 1: Roasted red bell pepper spread with basil and balsamic vinegar on the bottom bun, then meat patty topped with melted fresh mozzarella, then slice of heirloom tomato from the garden, then lettuce from the garden and a little aioli spread under the top bun.
Slider # 2: Homemade mayonnaise on the bottom bun, then meat patty topped with St. Agur bleu cheese, some spinach leaves, then caramelized onions and more homemade mayonnaise under the top bun.
Slider # 3: Hatch pepper and caramelized onion spread on the bottom bun, then meat patty topped with pepper jack cheese, then onion and alfalfa sprouts, some sliced avocado and aioli under the top bun.
Mr. RGBistro washed his down with a Red Stripe. I washed mine down with a Peroni. We have so much of this red pepper spread leftover that I can almost assure you there will be another post about it soon. Thanks, Kelly, for inspiring me come up with a way to use up aioli and garlic confit!
What did you all make over the long weekend?!
Mozzarella Sliders with Aioli and Roasted Red Pepper Spread
~ Serves 2 ~
~ Ingredients ~
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Grind of salt and pepper
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, in confit
- 4 large basil leaves
- Grind of salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoon aioli
- 4 oz. ground beef chuck
- 4 oz. ground beef sirloin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 6 thin pieces
- 2 small heirloom tomatoes
- 6 slider buns
~ Preparation ~
Preparation Time: 1 hour
- Pre-broil oven at 500º F. Cover one cookie sheet with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil (or spray with olive oil spray).
- Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and quarter them lengthwise. Bell peppers are loosely shaped like a box. You want to cut them lengthwise at the “corner” of the box, so that when you lay the flesh down on the cookie sheet, they lay flat. This also makes them easier to peel. Discard all the seeds. Lay the bell pepper slices flesh side up on the cookie sheet (as many as will fit without overlapping) and brush the flesh with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn them over so the skin side is up. Brush skin with olive oil. Broil in the oven (skin side up) for about 5-10 minutes. Watch the peppers closely. The skin will boil and eventually char to a black color. The peppers are done when the skin has completely turned black (and when you can smell them in the kitchen).
- Remove peppers from cookie sheet and place in single layer (skin side up) on a dish; freeze the dish for about 15 minutes. (This makes the peeling process much easier.) Then peel and discard skin.
- In a small food processor, combine roasted red bell peppers, ketchup and balsamic vinegar. Add two cloves garlic from confit. Tear basil leaves apart into small bits and add to mixture. Pulse until well combined. Season to taste with grind of salt and pepper. Set spread aside.
- Also put some aioli out for later use.
- Using your hands, combine ground beef chuck, ground beef sirloin and kosher salt in a small bowl. Divide into six uniform patties, shaping them thinner in the center and thicker along the edges (so when the meat “poofs” on the grill, you won’t have a huge dome of a patty). Set patties on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.
- Slice fresh mozzarella cheese and set aside. Slice two small heirloom tomatoes and set aside. Wash and dry lettuce leaves and set aside.
- Wash and dry lettuce leaves.
- Over medium heat, grill meat patties until almost well done. Add mozzarella cheese on top to melt thoroughly. Place buns (cut-side down) on grill to warm.
- Assemble each slider: On bottom bun, smear on ½ tablespoon roasted red pepper spread. Add meat patty with mozzarella cheese. Add slice of tomato. Add green lettuce. Smear on ½ tablespoon aioli on top bun. Close and serve immediately.
Nutrition content per serving: 841 calories, 55g carbs, 40g protein, 52g fat, 3g fiber
Cost per serving: $3.49 – $4.23
Source: Rustic Garden Bistro