Isn't your mouth just watering looking at this slider?? I never fail to be amazed by the inspired recipes Dara of Cookin Canuck dreams up, and this is definitely a fantastic one. This guest post from Cookin Canuck is for Grilled Mushroom Sliders, topped with Zucchini, Tomato, and a Spicy Cilantro Almond Pesto. I am especially excited by the spicy cilantro pesto (for obvious reasons) but I also can't stop thinking about the grilled mushroom! Oh yeah, you know what I am talking about - a thick, juicy, seasoned and grilled mushroom is a little bite of tender heaven. I think these sliders would be the perfect vegetarian option for your Labor Day parties... but I bet meat-eaters wouldn't be able to resist them either. And since they are miniature, you can feel free to eat more than one (or two).
I hope you enjoy this guest post, and if you love 'mini' foods as much as we do, be sure to stop by Cookin Canuck and check out her other small dishes like Mini Grilled Pizzas with Shrimp and Red Pepper Pesto, Mini Frittatas with Parmesan and Bacon, and Mini Pepper Biscuits. Or, just stop by to get a little dose of sunshine from her happy personality. Thanks Dara!
To start, I am sending a sincere “thank you” to Amanda for asking me to share this post with you. I can never resist stopping by her blog to see what recipes she cooked up and to gawk at her gorgeous photos. And, by the way, she is just as sweet and bright in person as she appears on her blog. If you didn’t catch the informative and downright jaw-dropping post she wrote and photographed for my blog - Orange Cantaloupe Sorbet – be sure to check it out. As Amanda is toiling over her computer, hammering out her Ph.D. dissertation (yes, I’m officially in awe), I am happy to give her a little blogging relief. So, let’s move on to these tasty mushroom sliders, paired with a spicy cilantro pesto.
I don’t know what it is about things in miniature, but they have the effect of turning me into a weepy-eyed, cootchie-cooing fool. Kittens, puppies, babies – you name it, I’m a sucker for it. One would hope that these behaviors would be relegated strictly to the “baby animal/people” category but, sadly, they also cross over to food. Cocktail parties and tapas restaurants are my preferred playgrounds as I prefer small tastes of multiple flavors rather than one large dish. Sliders, typically about half the size of a regular burger, fit my idea of “miniature” perfectly.
One of our favorite sliders recipes is Smoky Beef Sliders with Grilled Pineapple and Chipotle Mayonnaise. When you’re in the mood for beef, this one is bound to satisfy your craving. However, if you prefer something a little lighter or on the vegetarian side of the scale, turn to grilled mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms are typically the mushroom of choice for grilling. However, they are a little too big for sliders, unless you buy the baby bellas, which would work well for this recipe. While at the market, I stumbled upon some very large crimini mushrooms, which were just the right size to fit inside some whole wheat dinner rolls. If you are unable to find large crimini mushrooms, fill each slider with two small ones instead.
While the mushrooms and zucchini slices are cooking on the grill, take a few minutes to whip up a batch of this easy pesto. Cilantro, toasted slivered almonds, garlic and jalapeno peppers make up the base of the pesto and a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lime juice turn it into a spreadable sauce.
With most gardens and farm stands overflowing with mass quantities of zucchini at this time of year, topping each slider with a slice of the grilled squash seemed like a natural move. However, a slice or two of avocado or a round of grilled eggplant would be good alternatives.
Once everything is piled on top, these sliders seem ridiculously tall. Just give each one a squeeze before taking the first bite to make them a more manageable size. Your teeth will break through the lightly toasted bread and sink into the tender, juicy mushroom. The meatiness and earthy flavor of the mushroom stands up well to the jalapeno pepper that laces the cilantro pesto. I took my time eating these sliders, savoring each bite. These are proof that even things in miniature can satisfy a hungry diner.
This would go well with: Spicy Ginger Citrus Cocktail, and Kale Chips
Grilled Mushroom Sliders with Zucchini and Spicy Cilantro Almond Pesto
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
3 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
1 tbsp chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
8 large (or 16 small) crimini mushrooms, stems removed
1 small zucchini, cut into four 1/4-inch slices
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 whole wheat dinner rolls (or mini hamburger buns), cut in half
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 8 slices
In the bowl of food processor, pulse cilantro, almonds, jalapeno, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add olive oil and lime juice. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat grill to medium heat.
Place mushrooms and zucchini slices on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms on the grill and cook until they are very tender, but have not dried out, about 10 minutes per side. In the last 6 minutes of cooking the mushrooms, add the zucchini slices to the grill and cook until tender, about 3 minutes per side. Remove mushrooms and zucchini slices from the grill, and cut each zucchini slice in half crosswise.
Place the dinner rolls on the grill, cut side down and lightly toast.
Divide the pesto evenly between all cut sides of the rolls and spread. Top the bottom half of each roll with one mushroom (or 2 if you are using smaller mushrooms), one piece of zucchini and one slice of tomato. Cover with the top halves of the rolls. Serve.