My inspiration this week comes from a magazine article featuring 50 kinds of sliders. It looked like fun, so I tried a few vegetarian ones and some made from salmon and eggplant. I made several sauces and added lots of shredded veggies. Happy meal time for all!
When I first heard the term “slider,” I thought it was a new outdoor toy, like the old “slip and slide.” Boy, was I wrong. The kids quickly set me straight. Sliders were burgers. Why call them sliders? Because they were small. Why not call them small hamburgers? Because they are sliders!
Fast forward a decade or so, and the term is easily understood by all. Sliders are served in some of the most elegant restaurants, at events from brit milahs to birthday parties to million-dollar celebrity weddings.
So where did the term come from? It seems that White Castle, an establishment famous for its burgers, coined the term in the late 1940s, and the U.S. Navy adopted it as a term for greasy hamburgers that easily slid across a tray or plate. (Ugh! Not very appetizing.) Over the decades, the term came to be used for small hamburgers easily finished in two or three bites.
That change made them perfect for appetizers, and thus their popularity at bnei mitzvot and weddings. We served them to the kids at my son’s bar mitzvah. We served them at my daughter’s wedding. I was surprised to see people devouring them at 1 am!
So here we are in the last weeks of summer — hard to believe — and I think it is the perfect time to make a slider party. You can offer meat, vegetarian or fish and have everyone enjoy their meal. Kids of all ages love them and they are the perfect size to avoid waste for small children and those for whom 8-ounce burgers are too much.
Salmon Sliders (Pareve)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 scallions, cut into pieces, white and green parts
1 can Alaskan Red Salmon
1 to 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs or GF crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the chopped onion, garlic and scallion in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until small, almost minced. Add the can of salmon, bone and liquid included, and break up with a fork. Then pulse to blend, 2 to 3 pulses. Add the egg, mustard, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and pulse to blend evenly. Scrape into a large bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes to thicken. If the mixture is too wet, add some more breadcrumbs and mix, let sit for several minutes and then continue. Form into three-inch patties.
Heat a large skillet and add some Canola oil, just enough to generously cover the bottom. As soon as the oil begins to shimmer, place the patties in the oil. Cook until deep golden, flip carefully and cook until the second side is golden brown. Place on a plate and repeat until all the mixture is used. Makes about 12 patties.
Grilled Eggplant Sliders with Charred Tomatoes and More (Pareve or Dairy)
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 medium eggplants, about 3 inches diameter
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 tsp. oregano
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
OPTIONAL: Shredded mozzarella cheese; Arugula, watercress or baby spinach
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with foil and then a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
Heat a skillet and add about 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Break the onions into rings and place in the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often until deep golden brown. If the onions stick, add a bit of water and scrape with a wooden or silicone spatula. When golden, scrape into a bowl and set aside.
While the onions are cooking, wash the eggplant and slice crosswise into half-inch thick rounds. Place in a bowl and drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Shake or toss gently to coat. Place on one of the rimmed baking sheets and place in the oven.
Place the cut tomatoes in the same bowl and add a bit more olive oil. Toss to coat. Place in a single layer on the prepared pan and sprinkle with oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, and salt and pepper. Place in the oven.
Cook the eggplant until just softened. You do not want to overcook the eggplant or it will be more suitable for a dip than a sandwich. Flip one using a thin spatula.
Roast the tomatoes until they are charred in several places. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scrape into a bowl, leaving excess liquid.
When the eggplant is done, assemble the sandwich with the bottom half of a slider roll, a slice of eggplant, some tomatoes and the onions. Add cheese if you like and place on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven just to melt. Top with garlic aioli, and greens if desired. Makes 8 to 12 sliders.
Spicy Sausage, Egg and Pepper Sliders (Meat)
2 to 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 package spicy kosher sausages, thinly sliced
3 red bell peppers, cut in half, seeded and thinly sliced
4 small Yukon Gold Potatoes, thinly sliced
Black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
6 to 8 extra-large eggs
Heat a large skillet and add the olive oil. Add the slices of sausage and cook until golden brown, stirring and flipping as needed. Remove the sausages to a large bowl, leaving any oil in the pan.
Cut the peppers in half, remove the seeds, stem and white membrane, and thinly slice. Add to the pan and cook until browned in places and softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove to the bowl, leaving any oil in the pan.
If needed, add some olive oil to the pan. Add the potatoes and cook until cooked and softened, stirring and turning as needed. Remove to the bowl, leaving any oil in the pan.
Mix the sausages, peppers and potatoes together and toss to mix. Set aside.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with pepper. Add some olive oil to the pan if needed. Place the pan back on the heat and heat a few seconds.
Add the eggs to the hot pan, cook for 15 to 30 seconds, allowing raw egg to seep under the cooked portions. Add the veggies and sausage mixture evenly over the eggs.
Continue to make holes in the cooked mixture so raw egg can seep under. Continue until most of the liquid egg has been cooked. Cut into quarters and flip each quarter. Cook until completely cooked through. Sprinkle with parsley. Place each quarter on a slider roll, cutting pieces to fit, top with the other half and serve with condiments. Makes a great special Sunday morning breakfast. Makes enough for 4 to 6 sliders.
Simple Roasted Garlic Aioli (Pareve)
12 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 to 1 cup mayonnaise
1 clove fresh garlic, pressed thru garlic press
2 Tbsp. fresh, finely minced chives
1 Tbsp. fresh, finely minced parsley
1 Tsp. grated onion or grated shallot
Place the oil and garlic cloves in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until cloves turn light golden and are completely softened. When golden, remove from the heat and let cool completely. Can be made the day before.
Place 6 cloves of roasted garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Save the oil and remaining cloves in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator for another use. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Scrape sides as needed. Taste and adjust. If too strong, add more mayonnaise or more roasted garlic. Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly closed container. Makes 3/4 to 1 cup.
Horseradish Sauce for Salmon Sliders (Dairy)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 to 4 Tbsp. white horseradish OR
1 to 3 Tbsp. cup grated, fresh horseradish
1 large clove shallot, finely minced
1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, leaves only
1 Tbsp. finely minced chives
Mix all ingredients together, taste and adjust ingredients to taste. Makes about 1 cup.
Chipotle Mayo (Pareve)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
1 Tbsp. minced chives
1 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp. adobo sauce
Place all ingredients, except the adobo sauce, in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Taste. If not spicy enough, add adobo sauce to taste. Adjust lime and mix well. Place in a non-reactive container and refrigerate. Makes over 1 cup.