Sunday, August 28, 2011

Grilled Mushroom Sliders with Spicy Cilantro Almond Pesto



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! 
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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.


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Grilled Mushroom Sliders with Zucchini and Spicy Cilantro Almond Pesto

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

The rest:
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
8 whole wheat dinner rolls (or mini hamburger buns), cut in half
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 8 slices

Pesto:
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.

The rest:
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.

Serves 4.

41 comments:

  1. What awesome sliders! I really like the pesto and mushroom filling.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Wow these look amazing -- love that spicy pesto!

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  3. Rosa is right; these do indeed look awesome. I love the pesto. While on my self enforced avoidance of pine nuts until their price gets out of the stratosphere...I'm loving all the variations I see and may just never go back! Looks so good.

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  4. Wonderful post. I hardly ever have just muchrooms on burgers but this looks really good.

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  5. oh cilantropist - how i've missed you. we LOVE a good cilantro pesto! what a perfect meatless dish! thanks for pointing out the "tall" slider issue. still won't get in the way of me trying this!

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  6. Looks fabulous and you are so right, the pics make my mouth water!! Fun guest post :)

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  7. Love this recipe. I am a big fan of sliders and mushrooms. It amazing how versatile a pesto can be and this one looks awesome!

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  8. I love all things mini as well :) These look amazing Dara...love it!
    Wonderful guest post!

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  9. These sound amazing!! And cilantro pesto..YUM!!!! :)

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  10. Thanks so much for asking me to do this guest post, Amanda. You know how much I love your blog!

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  11. What a gorgeous guest post from Dara, you know I love my cilantro and spice, so this will absolutely be making it on to my table very soon.

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  12. Aaah so cute! Those mushrooms look so meaty, I love it with the pesto too. Great guest post!

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  13. These are the perfect answer to football parties! I never make burgers because they are too big and people don't have enough room to eat any of the other snacks I spend all day making.

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  14. Great guest post, Dara! (And hello, Cilantropist!) Your blogs and cooking styles complement each other so beautifully and add beautiful, tasty food to my life. Thank you!

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  15. This is so healthy,
    It looks good even without the meat!

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  16. Now, that's my kind of slider! A veggie lovers delight! Thanks, Dara and Amanda for this delicious post~

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  17. Oh my heaven, this looks so good! Loving this sauce!

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  18. My husband hates cilantro (gasp) and I bought a big batch for a recipe I never made. I'm SO making this pesto... asap :)
    PS - My only gripe about mini burgers is that it's hard to find mini buns. I like the idea of dinner rolls :)
    PPS - Sort of off topic but... I'm hosting a pretty sweet giveaway (today only). Check it out if you're interested!

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  19. These sliders are so cute!! I always turn to mushrooms for vegetarian BBQ parties. I'll be trying that almond-cilantro pesto sometime!

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  20. I am definitely making these for my husband - he'll probably propose all over again.

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  21. Such a creative pesto sauce and fun way to serve up sliders :)

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  22. I love the pesto sauce :) My husband isn't always a huge fan of pesto, but I know the extra spice will change his mind in this one. Yum!

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  23. I always run out of ideas when it comes to cooking with mushroom. This would be a great recipe to work with next time.

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  24. I love ANYTHING with pesto! Looks wonderful.

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  25. I've got so many herbs growing and they're begging to jump into pesto right this minute. What a perfect place to put them - on mushroom sliders!

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  26. Mushrooms never looked more delicious. Miniature food is just more fun. I'm new to your delicious blog. I had fun looking around.

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  27. These look so juicy and filling! I'm a mushroom fanatic and cannot wait to try these. Thanks so much!

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  28. i made these mushroom sliders earlier today. I love grilled mushrooms and never miss an occasion to grill some but until now have never made cilantro pesto. Combining the two together and my family was very happy and satisfied.
    Thank you Dara for the recipe and thanks Amanda for hosting this guest post.

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  29. Roxana: So glad you loved them!!! I bet that was a great way to celebrate those last days of summer!

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  30. This looks fabulous. I can't believe you could invent something this great.

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