Even though I was totally winging this dish for the party, they turned out to be some of the most flavorful, moist sliders I have ever had. Even Brandon, who hates zucchini, loved these. (Nothing like sneaking a few vegetables into your husband's food!) I've made them since, and realized they taste even better when grilled on a panini press (just an FYI for those of you who actually have a panini press). My non-traditional take on chimichurri sauce–packed with herbs, garlic, and roasted red peppers–is the perfect cookout companion. Delicious on the chicken sliders, it's equally good on burgers, steaks, grilled vegetables, and just about anything else you can throw on a grill.
Enjoy these last few fleeting days of Indian summer with good friends and good food this weekend. And if you have a grill, be sure light it up!
CHICKEN FETA SLIDERSMakes 8 sliders
1 small zucchini
1 pound ground chicken
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon chopped basil (or mint)
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup beaten egg
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs, plus more if needed
8 slider buns
Grate the zucchini with a box grater on the fine setting (or use a handheld cheese grater). Using paper towels or a clean dish towel, squeeze all liquid from the zucchini.
Combine the zucchini with the chicken, garlic, cumin, cayenne, basil, feta, egg, and bread crumbs with a rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper, and add more bread crumbs if the mixture seems too wet. (It should hold together easily when squeezed.)
Using your hands, shape the mixture into eight small slider-size patties. Season the patties with salt and pepper and grill on a hot, lightly oiled grill pan for about 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. (Or, if you have a panini press, cook for about 5 minutes total, until cooked through.)
Serve the sliders on toasted buns with sliced avocados, arugula, and chimichurri sauce (recipe below).
ROASTED RED PEPPER CHIMICHURRI SAUCEThough this is not a traditional chimichurri (which is usually limited to herbs, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes), I sampled a similar roasted red pepper version in Buenos Aires several years ago and was hooked. This is my attempt to recreate it, and I think it makes just about everything taste better.
Makes about 1 ¼ cup (serves 4-6)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 8-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the garlic, roasted red peppers, onion, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse several times until combined. Add the herbs and pulse several more times to combine. With the processor running, add the oil in a slow steady stream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Feel free to add more herbs, more vinegar, more red pepper flakes—this recipe is very adaptable according to your taste buds!
Let sit at room temperature for one hour before serving, for flavors to combine. Also, it keeps well in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
Next Essay: September 19th, 2011
Traverse City Part II
For me, there is no better way to start a day than with just-baked croissants, homemade jam, and a piping hot café au lait. During my time in France, that was my standard breakfast and even now, I find myself craving this combo. The problem is, it's surprisingly hard to find fresh, flaky croissants (made with real butter) in the U.S. Even living in Manhattan, I find it hard to find good ones–they're either too big, too soft, too dry, or perhaps worst of all, stale. I keep tasting...