Caprese Meatball Sliders

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I just love a big, thick juicy burger; but lately I’ve been making smaller slider style burgers.  The great thing is I find I eat a lot less when I make them.  It was almost as if when I had a big burger, I felt compelled to finish it.  And soon after finishing said burger, I was stuffed.  That’s why I actually prefer sliders; I find I eat quite a bit less.

The other reason I’m hooked on them is you can put anything on them and still call it a slider.  If you put chicken between two normal hamburger buns, it’s not a burger but a chicken sandwich.  But put a small piece of chicken breast on a slider bun and voilá – chicken sliders.  Anyhow, earlier in the day I was picking up groceries and had planned on making good old spaghetti and meat balls, with a nice caprese salad to go along with it.  But as I wandered down the bread aisle, my eye caught a pack of slider buns.  That’s when it hit me – how about combining the meatballs and the caprese salad.  I grabbed the rest of my ingredients and was off.  Enjoy!

I started by quartering lengthwise some roma tomatoes.  You only need 3 tomatoes for the recipe but I did 6 as we love having extras.  I lined a sheet pan with parchment paper and placed the tomatoes on the pan.  I drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned with a little kosher salt then roasted them at 250 degrees for  2 hours.  This photo was after they had roasted.  This will not dry them out completely, but just make their flavor intensify.

See how juicy they still are?

I make meatballs many different ways.  For these I started by combining 1 small onion roughly chopped,  3 garlic cloves roughly chopped, 1/4 cup packed Italian parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon cracke red pepper flakes in my food processor and pulsed until minced.  I poured it into a large bowl and added 1 pound ground chuck, 1 pound ground pork, 2 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 1/2 cup panko crumbs, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt then mixed it all together.  I wet my hands a little and formed the mix into 12 meatballs.

I heated a non-stick pan over medium heat and put the meatballs in the pan and let them cook for 1 minute.  (I’m only showing 2 meatballs here but you can probably cook them all in 2 different batches.)

After 1 minute I flattened them with a spatula and made an indent in the center with my thumb and cooked them for 2 more minutes.  This will keep the center from rounding up.

I fliped them over and cooked 2 more minutes.  Look at that crust!

I topped each with a slice of fresh mozarella then added 1 tablespoon water to the pan and quickly covered it.  I let them steam until the cheese had melted for about 1 minute then removed them to a platter.  I cleaned out the pan and lightly toasted the buns in the pan.  I placed a slider on the bottom bun then topped it with 2 pieces of the roasted tomatoes, a large basil leaf and finally the top bun.  If you’re thinking you need to add some marinara sauce – don’t!  The tomatoes burst with juices and don’t require any help.

And this is the result.  Mmm…good stuff!  Enjoy!

One more photo for good measure!

Caprese Meatball Sliders
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Caprese salad and a meatball sandwich all in one tiny slider that bursts with flavor. No marinara needed for these as the roasted tomatoes offer plenty of juiciness all on their own.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3 roma tomatoes quartered lengthwise
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup packed Italian parsley then minced
  • ½ teaspoon cracked red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1 pound ground pork (not sausage)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan (please no green cans)
  • ½ cup panko crumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons dried Italian herb seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces fresh mozarella cut into 12 slices
  • 12 large basil leaves
  • 12 slider buns
Instructions
  1. Place the sliced tomatoes on parchment paper lined sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with a little kosher salt. Roast at 250 degrees for 2 hours then remove and set aside.
  2. If you have a food processor, then roughly chop the onion and garlic and add them to it along with the parsley and red pepper flakes and pulse intil minced. If you don't have one then mince them by hand.
  3. In a bowl combine the minced onion mix with the beef, pork, eggs, parmesan, panko, Italian seasoning and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined. Wet your hands and form into 12 meatballs.
  4. Heat a non-stick pan to medium - medium high and place some of the meatballs in the pan (don't crowd them). Cook for 1 minute then flatten them with a spatula and make an indent in the center of each with your thumb. Cook for 2 more minutes. Flip them and flatten again slightly if needed - cook for 2 minutes. Top each with a slice of mozarella then add 1 tablespoon water to the pan and cover the pan quickly. Let them steam until the chesse melts about 1 minute. Remove to a warm platter and repeat withthe other meatballs. Lightly toast the buns then place a meatball on ech bottom, top with 2 slices of roasted tomato and finish with a basil leaf and the top bun. Enjoy!

 

 

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