Pizza burgers were a popular item about 30 years ago. Every restaurant that served hamburgers seemed to have a pizza burger on the menu. As you have read in my past blogs, I have mentioned how franchise chain restaurants and fast food restaurants have a way of "burning out" every popular food item that they get their hands on. There was a hamburger stand franchise about 25 years ago that really sent pizza burgers to an early grave, by serving very poor quality pizza burgers. People then started thinking of pizza burgers as just another item to avoid.
Those of us who remember how tasty that good quality pizza burgers were, still make pizza burgers at home. I actually have successfully sold gourmet pizza burgers as a lunch special du jour in a few French cafes. The quality of the toppings was the selling point for those pizza burger creations.
This simple veal pizza slider recipe has just a few ingredients. Good tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves give these pizza sliders a nice clean simple flavor. Ground veal slider patties are used in this recipe and they are not veal meatball patties. Meatball sliders are a different kind of recipe.
Salsa di Pomodoro Recipe:
This recipe makes about 4 or 5 portions of tomato sauce! Obviously only a small amount of tomato sauce is needed for these sliders, so use the rest for a nice pasta entree.
Heat a pot over medium/medium low heat.
Add about 5 to 6 ounces of olive oil. (The olive oil proportion should be about 1/10 of the volume of the tomatoes.)
Add 9 cloves of finely chopped garlic.
Add 1/2 cup of finely minced onion.
Saute till the onions turn clear in color, but do not let the onions brown.
Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.
Add a 28 ounce can of good quality imported Italian crushed plum tomatoes.
Place a 28 ounce can of imported whole Italian plum tomatoes that are packed in their own juices into a mixing bowl.
Hand squeeze and crush the tomatoes, till no big chunks remain.
Add the hand squeezed tomatoes and juices to the pot.
Add 4 pinches of oregano.
Add sea salt and ground black pepper.
Add 1 small handful of finely chopped fresh basil.
Add 2 tablespoons of minced Italian parsley.
Add 1 cup of dry red Italian wine. (Chianti)
Heat the sauce and stir, till it starts to gently boil.
Reduce the temperature to low/very low heat.
Leave the pot uncovered. (Never cover a pot of Italian tomato sauce with a lid, or the sauce will be like stewed tomatoes!)
Slowly simmer the sauce and stir the sauce once every 5-7 minutes for 4 hours.
The sauce should be simmering gently and there should be very little bubbling on the surface. Scrape the sides of the inside of the pot back into the sauce too. That stuff is full of flavor!
After 4 hours, the flavors will meld and the tomato sauce will a medium thin tomato sauce consistency. The excess tomato juices should be reduced into the sauce at this point. The olive oil should be well combined with the tomatoes, because the sauce was stirred often.
This sauce is traditionally run through a food mill, to smooth the sauce. Allow the sauce to cool to almost room temperature, befor running it through an old fashioned hand turned food mill. If you enjoy a coarse salsa di pomodoro, then leave it the way it is.
Keep the salsa di pomodoro warm over very low heat or reheat the sauce to order.
Focaccia Dough Recipe:
If you have dough making experience, then this will be easy.
High gluten flour is best for this recipe, but bread flour can be used. Pizza dough is focaccia dough or Italian bagette style bread dough. No oil in the mixture will produce a dough that is like many Italian breads that are not enriched with fat or like a French baguette bread dough. Many pizzeria chefs do not add oil to a pizza dough and that is correct pizza dough too.
Focaccia style doughs require enrichment with fat. Olive oil is a fat! Oil strengthens and elongates the gluten strands of the dough. It only takes a very small amount of oil to produce a nice texture. The elastic gluten strands give pizza dough the ability to be stretched and tossed in the air!
Add 2 tablespoon of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of dry yeast to 16 ounces of tepid luke warm water in a mixing bowl.
Place the mixing bowl in a luke warm place like on top of a warm oven, with a dry towel under the bowl.
When the yeast activates, add 2 teaspoons of sugar to proof the yeast.
Add about 2 cups of flour.
Add 2 teaspoons of sea salt.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
Stir the mixture with a spoon, till a very loose wet dough is formed.
Start adding a little bit of flour at a time,while stirring, till a loose dough is formed.
Add a little more flour at a time, while mixing with your fingers, till the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Note: You will be able to feel when the dough is starting to get elastic. It will stick to your hands when made correctly, but that will change after rising twice.
Add flour, while hand mixing, till the dough can pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the dough in the mixing bowl with a dry towel.
Set the bowl on top of an oven in a luke warm area, with a second towel underneath the bowl to protect the dough from too much heat.
When the dough rises more than double, beat it down with your knuckles and gather the dough like a ball in the bowl.
Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise again.
When it rises the second time, beat the dough down and knead firmly with your hands for 1 minute.
Place the dough on a floured counter top.
Roll the dough into a large ball.
Cut the dough ball in half into 2 easy portions that are easy to work with.
Roll and tuck each dough portion with with your hands to make smooth dough balls.
You can cover and refrigerate each dough ball for a few days or freeze the dough portions for later use.
Shaping the Focaccia Slider Rolls:
To make focaccia slider buns with the focaccia dough, cut walnut size dough portions of the focaccia dough.
Place the dough portions on a parchment paper lined baking pan and space them about 3" apart from each other.
Brush the rolls with olive oil, then sprinkle sea salt and coarse back pepper on the dough portions. (optional)
Let the dough rise and proof.
Bake the slider rolls in a 425 degree oven, till they become a very light tan color.
Dill Slaw Recipe:
Place 1 cup of very thin sliced cabbage into a mixing bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of chopped green bell pepper.
Add a few small thin match stick cut carrots for color.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 2 to 3 pinches of chopped fresh dill weed.
Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Add 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar.
Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
Mix the ingredients together.
Chill the slaw for 15 minutes, before serving.
Mix the ingredients again, before serving.
Veal Pizza Sliders Recipe:
Split 3 focaccia slider rolls in half.
Brush the rolls with olive oil.
Grill the buns in a pan over medium/medium low heat, till they become toasted.
Make 3 ground veal slider patties that weigh 2 to 3 ounces apiece. Shape the veal patties with a ring mold that is slightly larger than the slider rolls.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 1 splash of olive oil.
Add the veal slider patties.
Saute the patties on both sides, till they become cooked golden brown.
Season the veal slider patties with sea salt and white pepper.
Add 3/4 cup of the salsa di pomodoro to the pan.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Simmer the veal patties in the tomato sauce for about 5 minutes.
Place 1 thin slice of fresh mozzarella cheese on each patty.
Cover the skillet with a lid and let the steam from the tomato sauce soften the cheese. (It is better to just soften the fresh mozzarella cheese, rather than try to fully melt the fresh mozzarella for this recipe.)
Sprinkle a pinch of oregano over the melted mozzarella on the sliders.
Veal Pizza Sliders with Dill Slaw:
Spread a little bit of the tomato sauce on the bottom half of each slider roll.
Place a basil leaf on top of the tomato sauce.
Place the mozzarella cheese topped veal patties on the basil leaves and slider roll bottoms.
Place the sliders on a plate.
Lean the tops of the slider rolls against the veal sliders.
Place a mound of dill slaw on a bed of lettuce leaf on the plate.
This is a tasty flavor combination for a simple gourmet slider! The flavor is like the pizza burgers from the early days of gourmet burgers. Yummy! Ciao Baby! ... Shawna