Jul
16

Sliders that Satisfy

by

Every once in a while I have a hankering for a hamburger, but most of the time the typically oversized meat patty intimidates me.  That’s why I’m a fan of the meatball slider.  These bite size burgers satisfy the craving, but don’t fill you up.  I’ve seen them popping up on a quite a few restaurant menus and in the foodie magazines.  I pulled this recipe from Gourmet magazine courtesy of epicurious.com for our anniversary potluck.  Neither the sauce or meatballs were difficult to make, but the seller for me was the brioche rolls I bought at Whole Foods.  The soft, buttery bun was a perfect compliment to the pork and beef balls topped with the yummy home-made tomato sauce.  Even our picky GM liked them!

Meatball Sliders

Servings: Makes 20 small sandwiches

For tomato sauce
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf

For meatballs
3 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (6 slices firm white sandwich bread)
2/3 cup whole milk
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground beef chuck (not lean)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano (1/4 pound)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups vegetable oil

For assembling sliders
20 small (2-inch) soft buns or rolls, split

Make tomato sauce:
Purée tomatoes with their juice, 1 can at a time, in a blender and transfer to a bowl.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onion until golden, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add tomato purée, sugar, bay leaf, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 40 to 50 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Make meatballs while sauce simmers:
Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Add meat, garlic, cheese, eggs, parsley, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and blend with your hands until just combined well (do not over mix). Form level 1/4-cup portions into meatballs.

Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then fry meatballs, about 6 at a time, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon.

Simmer meatballs in sauce and assemble sliders:
Add drained meatballs to tomato sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are heated through.

Assemble sliders with a meatball and 1 tablespoon sauce per bun, securing each with a wooden pick.

Cooks’ note: Meatballs in sauce can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, uncovered, until cool, then covered. Reheat before serving.

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