Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Dinner Week #6 Gruyere challenge

I was watching my most favoritest channel - Food Network - and voila - the Barefoot Contessa making these juicy looking sliders - so in honor of her, tonight's dinner was sliders.

Sliders, Ina Garten, 2009
2 lbs. ground beef (80% lean) - [lucky me, it's been on sale at Sack n Save]
1 T. good Dijon mustard
3 T. good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
1 T. chopped thyme leaves
3 t. chopped garlic
1 t. kosher salt
6 oz. grated Gruyere ($12.99/lb on SALE at Safeway, thus the Gruyere challenge)
12 small Brioche buns (used 3.99/dozen round dinner rolls at Sack n Save)
4 oz. baby arugula (don't ignore this - keep looking for arugula)
3 medium tomatoes, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
2 small red onions, sliced in 1/8-inch-thick rounds
Ketchup, for serving
Directions:
Build a charcoal fire or heat a gas grill. Place the ground beef in a large bowl and the mustard, olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress the ingredients (Rubber slipper style - wash your hands and get your hands in the bowl). Shape the meat into 12 (2-inch) patties of equal size and thickness.

When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the sliders from sticking. Place the sliders on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the sliders over with a spatula and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, until medium-rare, or cook longer if you prefer the sliders well done. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, place 1/2-ounce Gruyere on the top of each burger and close the grill lid. Remove the sliders to a platter and cover with foil. Slice the buns in half crosswise and toast the halves cut side down on the grill. Top with arugula, tomato and red onion.

So why the Gruyere challenge? Since I was doubling the recipe, I didn't want to buy 1 pound of gruyere at $12.99/lb. when I only needed 12 ounces, so I bought 1/2 lb. of gruyere and 1/2 lb. fontina, because fontina is sometimes substituted for gruyere. I wanted to see if gruyere was worth the price tag, or would the fontina do. The result? The majority liked the gruyere better because it didn't overpower the burger like a bleu cheese would, but there was a strong presence of the gruyere nonetheless. Eaten raw, the gruyere is a drier, smellier cheese with an earthy taste and a saltiness to it. Fontina is a smoother, creamier cheese. It doesn't add anything to the slider, or make its presence known. The gruyere and the arugula also make a nice pairing of salty and peppery. Yum!

Until next week, happy grinding.



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