May-June 2013 | MASTERING THE SLIDER

MASTERING THE SLIDER
Bob Yesbek and Paul CullenMASTERING THE SLIDERMASTERING THE SLIDERMASTERING THE SLIDERMASTERING THE SLIDERMASTERING THE SLIDERMASTERING THE SLIDERMASTERING THE SLIDERItalian Sausage Slider with Sautéed Broccolini, Sharp Provolone and Cucumber SaladFrom left: Braised and Slow-Roasted Beef Brisket Slider, the Peachwood-Smoked Pork Belly Slider with JAM Bistro’s Habanero Jelly and the Fried Chicken Breast, Buffalo Aioli and Blue Cheese SliderBig Freakin’ Rockfish Slider (BFRS) with Nancy’s ColeSlawSmoked Salmon Slider on Rye with Dill & Shallot DressingBogle’s luscious blend of Old Vine Zinfandel, Petite Syrah and Mourvedre paired with the Italian Sausage SliderRocker Dave Matthews’ Dreaming Tree Crush is paired with Fried Chicken SliderPaul Cullen’s own Sonata Rosso is paired with the Braised and Slow-Roasted Beef Brisket SliderThe Alexander Valley Rosé is paired nicely with the Peachwood-Smoked Pork Belly SliderBouchaine's perfectly oaked Chardonnay from the hillsides of Carneros in Napa Valley is paired with Paul's Big Freakin' Rockfish SliderMichael David Vineyards (of 7 Deadly Zins fame) has added a delicious Sauvignon Blanc which is paired with the Smoked Salmon Slider

FLAVORS

MASTERING THE SLIDER

Written By: | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

Tapas joints, Food TV and brewpubs have elevated the unassuming slider to new heights! From their humble “buy ‘em by the bag” beginnings at Little Tavern, Krystal and White Castle, sliders now occupy menus from casual to fine dining. Food columnist and former restaurateur Bob Yesbek teams up yet again with wine & music maven Paul Cullen (neither has ever met a bandwagon they didn’t want to jump onto) to pair variations on the tiny burger with big-tasting wines. And, yet again, it took a day and a half to clean up the mess.

Yesbek’s lavish Rehoboth Beach kitchen was the launch (or is that “lunch”?) pad for the guys’ burger-shaped creations. Our host whipped up his Slider Trio (no, not a trombone band), starting with peachwood-smoked and flame-grilled pork belly topped with house-made habanero jelly from JAM Bistro in Rehoboth Beach. Slider #2 showcased Bob’s acclaimed buttermilk fried chicken with aromatic Crèma de Blue cheese and spicy Buffalo aioli. Braised and slow-roasted beef brisket was assigned to tiny roll #3, crowned with caramelized onions and a pickle. Everything goes better with shoestring fries, and Yesbek kicked up his boardwalk version with cracked garlic, kosher salt and Sriracha ketchup.

Paul Cullen’s Italian roots were evident in his pan-seared sweet sausage slider with sautéed broccolini and sharp provolone. His second project paid homage to one of the first celebrity chefs, Paul Prudhomme, with his BFRS, or “Big Freakin’ Rockfish Slider.” The meaty filet was blackened with Prudhomme’s famous spice, lavished with Momma Cullen’s signature coleslaw and then deposited on a hulking roll (hence, “big freakin’”).

The former Bad Company bass player’s final performance featured smoked salmon on fresh rye from Steve Kogler’s Old World Breads in Ellendale, Del. A simple but delicious dressing of sour cream, dill, shallots and capers brought it all home. Each tiny (or not so tiny) sandwich was paired with a particular wine, all of which are available locally. Of course these are only suggestions, so try out Yesbek’s and Cullen’s recipes and experiment with your favorite vintages. All’s well that ends well.



ITALIAN SAUSAGE SLIDER WITH SAUTEED BROCCOLINI, SHARP PROVOLONE AND CUCUMBER SALAD

INGREDIENTS:
½ lb. sweet Italian sausage, formed into slider-size patties (makes 4 sliders)
1 bunch broccolini, fresh, cut into bite-size pieces (don’t use the long stems)
4 medium slices aged/sharp provolone
garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. good olive oil
Italian hard roll, fresh, cut into slider-size chunks
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 radishes, thinly sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

MAKE THE SLIDER:
This one’s easy. Stir together the capers, dill, shallot and sour cream. Place the salmon on the grilled rye and top with 
the dressing.

MAKE THE SALAD:
Stir together all the ingredients, placing a portion on each plate alongside the sandwich.

THE WINE:
Bogle’s luscious blend of Old Vine Zinfandel, Petite Syrah and Mourvedre provides a rich berry blast and a peppery edge that plays very well with the savory sausage and the acid in the salad.



BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN BREAST, BUFFALO AIOLI AND BLUE CHEESE SLIDER

INGREDIENTS:
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into slider-size squares (approx. 9 pieces)
2 cups brine, cooled, made with kosher salt, a bay leaf and cracked pepper
8 oz. buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour and 
2 tbsp. baking powder, combined
Black pepper, seasoned salt, hot paprika, adobo, garlic salt and onion powder
Peanut oil, enough for frying
4 tbsp. Hellman’s mayonnaise
1.5 tbsp. Frank’s Louisiana Red Hot sauce (or more to taste)
Crèma de Blue cheese from Morgan & Gower Cheesemongers in Rehoboth 

MAKE THE SLIDER:
Soak the chicken pieces overnight in the brine, refrigerated. Remove from the brine, pat dry and season generously with the black pepper, seasoned salt, hot paprika, adobo, garlic salt and onion powder, proportioned in that order, from more spice to less. Allow the chicken to absorb the spices for at least 8 hours, refrigerated. Gently cover the spiced chicken with buttermilk and allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about 2 hours before cooking.
 
Combine the flour and the pepper, seasoned salt, hot paprika, adobo, garlic powder and onion powder, proportioned in that order from more spice to less. Taste the flour to make sure the spices are well-pronounced and prominent. The black pepper should dominate. Heat a deep fryer (or other frying vessel with a basket) to 360 degrees.
 
Using tongs (not a fork!), remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk, gently shake off excess, and dredge in the flour mixture until completely covered. Shake off the excess flour and place the chicken in the fryer. Lower the heat to 320 degrees. Cook until the chicken is a dark golden brown and the interior temperature is at least 160 degrees (approx. 12 min. depending on your fryer). Remove and allow to drain on a rack (not directly on a paper towel).
 
Combine the mayonnaise and the Frank’s sauce, adjusting the sauce to your taste.
 
Place a still-warm piece of chicken on the slider roll and arrange several large crumbles of the Crèma de Blue on top. Apply the spicy aioli to the inside top of the roll.

THE WINE:
Rocker Dave Matthews’ Dreaming Tree Crush is a predominantly merlot blend from the north coast of California. The sharp blue that rests atop the chicken is the inspiration for this pairing. The wine’s top note of smoky berry and the pop of raspberry jam play politely with the aromatic cheese.



BRAISED AND SLOW-ROASTED BEEF BRISKET SLIDER WITH COLESLAW AND BUBBIE'S PICKLES

INGREDIENTS:
1 small flat of beef brisket, salted and peppered generously
1 cup Jimmy Parks’ Bootlegger’s Blend BBQ sauce (or any good tomato-based sauce)
1 medium sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño pepper, cut in half, seeds/ribs removed from 1 half, then chopped finely
Bubbie’s bread & butter pickles (available from Morgan & Gower Cheesemongers in Rehoboth Beach)
¼ cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. buttermilk
1.25 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¾ tbsp. white vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
Generous pinch black pepper
4 cups cabbage (about half of a head), 
finely chopped to about the side of rice
1/8 cup carrot, shredded (about half a carrot)
1 tbsp. onion, finely minced

MAKE THE SLIDER:
Braise the salt & peppered beef in a hot, lightly oiled skillet until charred and golden on all sides. Place on a sheet pan; top with the sauce, chopped onions and jalapeño and roast at 225 degrees, covered in foil, for about 6 hours. (As an alternative, you may also use a slow cooker on high for 8 hours.) The meat should pull apart easily with a fork.

Build the sandwich with a lean chunk of the beef and top with the coleslaw (below). Place a crispy Bubbie’s pickle chip squarely on top.

MAKE THE COLESLAW:
Combine the chopped cabbage, carrots and onion. Mix well. Combine the wet ingredients and spices and beat until smooth. Fold all the ingredients together, adjusting the consistency with buttermilk if necessary. The mixture should be fairly dry and not runny.

THE WINE:
Paul Cullen’s own Sonata Rosso from the Sierra foothills of northeast California was selected to stand nose-to-nose with the spicy beef. Paul’s proprietary fusion of Syrah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc adds even more spice and a little fruit. The silky finish lends a soft touch to the sandwich.



PEACHWOOD-SMOKED PORK BELLY SLIDER JAM BISTRO'S HABANERO JELLY
 
INGREDIENTS:
3 slices, approx. ½” thick, smoked pork belly, cut into slider-size squares (lardons)
House-made habanero pepper jelly from JAM Bistro in Rehoboth Beach
 
MAKE THE SLIDER:
Place the pork lardons over high heat on a flame grill. Turn often until both sides are darkly seared. This should be done outside or under a ventilation hood!

Place 2-3 lardons onto each slider roll and crown with a schmear of the spicy pepper jelly.
 
THE WINE:
The salty/sweet pork requires a wine with generous acidity with a touch of sweetness. Alexander Valley Rosé, a dry blush from Sangiovese grapes, works equally well with both the savory meat and on the back porch on a summer evening. The sweet finish helps temper the spicy hot jelly.



BIG FREAKIN' ROCKFISH SLIDER (BFRS) WITH NANCY'S COLESLAW

INGREDIENTS:
4 oz. fresh rockfish
Blackened Redfish Magic spice 
by Paul Prudhomme
1 medium ciabatta roll, sliced and grilled
Small amount good olive oil
Butter, melted (optional)
¼ cabbage, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
½ fennel bulb, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

MAKE THE SLIDER:
Heat an iron skillet or steel sauté pan until very, very hot (do this outside or with a ventilating hood). Lightly brush the fish with olive oil or butter (preferred for taste) and cover with the blackening seasoning. Drop the seasoning-encrusted fish into the skillet. The butter may flame up; that’s OK.

Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes per side. (If your smoke detectors don’t go off, make a note to check the batteries!) Assemble the sandwich on the roll and top with the coleslaw (below).

MAKE THE COLESLAW:
Combine the cabbage, carrot and the rest of the ingredients and toss thoroughly.

THE WINE:
In these days of over-oaked Chardonnays, Bouchaine is right-on with their perfectly oaked Chardonnay from the hillsides of Carneros in Napa Valley. This medium-bodied wine with hints of grapefruit and lime pairs nicely with the heat of the blackened fish.



SMOKED SALMON SLIDER ON RYE WITH DILL & SHALLOT DRESSING

INGREDIENTS:
1 piece smoked salmon
Fresh rye bread, preferably from Steve Kogler’s bakery in Ellendale, lightly grilled
1/8 cup capers, roughly chopped
1 sprig dill, chopped
1 medium shallot, minced
½ cup sour cream

MAKE THE SLIDER:
This one’s easy. Stir together the capers, dill, shallot and sour cream. Place the salmon on the grilled rye and top with the dressing.

THE WINE:
Michael David Vineyards (of 7 Deadly Zins fame) has added a delicious Sauvignon Blanc to their tasty portfolio. This balanced blend of Sauvignon Blancs from Lake County and Lodi in California gives a zippy citrus nose with a fruity finish. It works with this slider on any warm summer evening.


 
 


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