Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chat Masala Salmon Patty Sliders ~ On Butter Rolls with Betel Leaves, Crispy Onions and Spicy Sweet Adzuki Spread

Gourmet Fusion Sliders!  

     What is a slider?  A miniature grilled ground beef burger patty served on a yeast dinner roll bun is the original definition of slider.  Steadfast burger traditionalists do not stray from this definition.  This is the definitive meaning of the word slider from an authenticity standpoint.  
     Many chefs, including myself, use the slider design outline and the slider cooking technique to define the word slider.  Any kind of meat can be used to make the mini patty.  The meat can be ground or minced.  Vegetable patties, fish patties and grilled meatloaf are acceptable.  The bun can be made with any kind of bread, as long as the bread is dinner roll size.  The patty should be grilled on a flat top griddle and not char grilled.  These modified slider guidelines are acceptable for most traditionalists.  By using these guidelines, a gourmet slider will look like a slider and not a mini sandwich.
     Plenty of modern chefs throw out all of the slider definition rules and say that anything goes.  Many trendy chefs make sliders with small portions of items like blackened fish, prime rib, roasted glazed pork belly, pulled pork BBQ, filet of beef medallions, etcetera.  Are sliders made with these kinds of items really sliders?  When reflecting upon the definition of what a slider really is, the answer is no!  Sliders that are made with anything other than a grilled patty are really just mini sandwiches.  
     Trendy chefs use the word slider for marketing purposes, when describing mini sandwich creations on a menu.  There is really nothing wrong with calling a hot mini sandwich a slider, but why not just call the sandwich what it really is?  The word "slider" does have marketing power, but so do words like "minis" or "bites."  
     Back before the slider craze began, Florida chefs, including myself,  used to sell items like Beer Batter Grouper Nugget Mini Sandwiches, BBQ Sloppy Joe Sandwich Bites and Mini Cajun Chicken Sandwiches.  All of these small sandwiches were served on dinner rolls.  Two or three mini sandwiches or sandwich bites were served with fries in a paper lined basket at tourist destinations, luxury resort poolside snack bars and at bars that served food.  The sandwiches were aways called bites or minis and they were never called sliders, because integrity was part of the chef game back then.  We all knew what sliders really were and sliders had an awful reputation back in those days.  
     It was nearly impossible to market sliders at bars and restaurants in Florida before the year 2000.  Burgers of any kind had reached an all time low in popularity, because burgers were deemed to be an unhealthy food choice.  Sliders had an even worse reputation that extended beyond health issues.  Politically correct chefs avoided the word slider like the plague in those days, because the slider fast food topic involved moral issues that the news media focused on. 
     Back in the 1990's, sliders were publicized as being a greasy fast food item that a specific restaurant chain marketed to low income consumers in borderline urban ghetto areas.  Many fast food restaurant chains, including the slider fast food chain, were accused of racially motivated marketing practice by the news media, because a high percentage of the fast food shop locations were located near low income urban areas, which had a high percentage of Afro American residents.  The evidence of racially motivated marketing practice was based upon medical-socioeconomic-consumer statistics and studies that were compiled by major universities and the medical community.  The major grievance concerning the publicized racially motivated marketing practice was that the cheap fatty fast food, like greasy sliders, contributed to heart disease problems in low income Afro American communities.  
     Nowadays, the reputation of sliders has improved dramatically.  Gourmet slider creations are the rage.  Some slider fans brag up the old days of fast food slider chain restaurants just to be stylish, but it does not take long for reality to set in.  The memories of how lousy the greasy fast food sliders were, is all it takes to put any stylish statement to an end.  
     The fast food industry is not responsible for the recent dramatic increase in slider popularity.  Quality oriented creative chefs deserve all the credit for saving sliders from extinction.  Modern chefs effectively have turned sliders into one of the most popular sandwiches in history.  All that it took to accomplish this task was applying a gourmet theme to sliders! 

     Beer Pairing:
     Beer pairing or wine pairing?  Whatever!  There are gourmet slider creations that are worthy of being paired with fine wine.  Most gourmet slider creations can be paired with good table wine.  A dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay would certainly be a good choice for pairing with today's salmon patty sliders.  Korean Soju or just about any semi sweet or dry rice wine is also a good choice, because these slides have a fusion theme.
     Because the Indian chat masala spice mix is the central fusion flavor of this salmon patty slider entree, pairing the sliders with an India Pale Ale is probably the most suitable suggestion.  Traditional English style India Pale Ales are a classic choice.  In recent years, the American craft beer brewing trend has been increasing in strength.  
     One of the most popular craft beer styles is India Pale Ale.  Western style craft IPA tends to have a high gravity and it has a strong hops flavor.  Some western craft IPA have such a strong hops flavor, that they only appeal to a limited market.  A western style IPA that has a balanced flavor appeals to a broader spectrum of craft beer consumers.  Fans of traditional English IPA beer who taste craft brews, do seem prefer a western craft IPA that has a balanced hops flavor that is not overbearing.
     The Sierra Nevada Brewery was founded in 1979 in California and it is one of the oldest microbreweries in America.  This company was part of the first wave of microbrew beer.  Sierra Nevada gained a large loyal clientele base of beer fans who were tired of only having a choice of cheap national brand rice beer or expensive imported European beer.  The Sierra Nevada Brewery has always had a great reputation for quality, even as production numbers steadily increased.  Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is their number one beer product and it can be found in stores and brew bars nationwide, so availability is not an issue.  Some of the Sierra Nevada Brewery's specialty beers can be a little bit harder to find, but they can be special ordered at just about any liquors store.
    Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA is a good example of a balanced western craft IPA.  Those who like traditional English IPA do like Torpedo.  Torpedo happens to be one of my personal favorite craft IPA beers and the flavor is consistently good.  The hops flavor is not overbearing and the hops selection is well suited for an IPA beer style.  Torpedo is one of the few western craft IPA brews that can be described as being refreshing.  
     Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA is a good beer pairing recommendation for today's fusion style salmon patty sliders.  So, slap some salmon patty sliders on the grill, open the Torpedo tubes and fire away!

     Betel Leaf Information and Disclaimer:
     Fresh Betel Leaf herb is sold in bunches at Asian food markets.  Betel leaves come from the Piper betle plant.  This plant is in the Piperaceae family of plants, which include Kava Kava and pepper.  
     Betel leaves are used in Vietnamese cooking.  Betel leaves have a sharp bitter spicy hot black pepper flavor.  If betel leaves cannot be found, Upland Cress or Watercress are both good substitutes. 
     When betel leaves are used as an herb in recipes, it is best to provide a disclaimer.  Betel leaves do have medicinal value.  Betel leaves are a mild stimulant and they have mild euphoric effect.  When consumed responsibly only on occasion in minute quantities, betel leaves pose no harm.  Betel leaves are a tasty traditional herb and they pose no health threat if they are respected.      
     Betel leaves are addictive, when they are chewed as quid in high quantities.  When betel leaves are chewed with betel nut, the addictive principal increases dramatically.  Betel nut chewing addiction is similar to tobacco addiction.  Betel nut chewing is a social problem in Southeast Asia.  

     Butter Slider Rolls:
     Follow the this hyperlink to the Butter Bread Recipe:  Butter Bread  
     Follow the directions for the bread recipe to create the dough.
     For shaping slider rolls, cut 2 portions of dough that are about the size of an average apricot or large plum.
     Roll the dough portions into 2 cylinder shapes that are about 1/2" wide.
     Tie the dough rope into a simple double knot shape that is round.
     Place the slider roll shape in a small silicone brioche baking mold or on a parchment paper lined baking pan.
     Allow the dough to rise by half.  
     For finishing and baking the slider rolls, continue to follow the Butter Bread Recipe!

     Spicy Sweet Adzuki Spread:
     This recipe yields enough for 2 sliders!  
     Sweet red bean paste is made with adzuki beans.  Sweet red bean paste is available at Asian markets.
     Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of sweet red bean paste in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lime juice.
     Add 2 pinches of Chinese chile powder or cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Stir the ingredient as they heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce becomes a medium consistency.
     Set the sauce aside.
     Chat Masala Salmon Slider Patties:
     This recipe yields 2 slide patties!
     Chat Masala is a tangy exotic Indian spice mix that is usually served with fruits or used in dessert recipes.  Chat Masala can also be used to flavor vegetables, poultry or fish.  Chat Masala spice mix can be found in Indian food markets.
     A food processor works best for mincing the ingredients.  The ingredients can also be run through a meat grinder or minced by hand with Chinese cleavers or a chef knife.     
     Heat a small saute pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped celery.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of copped green bell pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Saute till the vegetables become tender.  Try not to brown the vegetables.  
     Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.  
     Cut 5 1/2 ounces of salmon filet into small pieces.  (No bones and no skin!)
     Place the salmon pieces in a food processor.
     Add the sautéed vegetables.
     Pulse the food processor till the salmon and vegetables are finely minced.
     Place the minced salmon mixture in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 2 tablespoons of plain fine French bread crumbs.
     Add 1 teaspoon of chat masala.
     Add 1 small pinch of Chinese chile powder.
     Add sea salt.
     Add 2 teaspoons of whisked egg.
     Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Refrigerate the mixture, so it becomes firm.  (Chill for about 20 minutes.)
     Divide the salmon mixture into 2 equal size portions.  
     Use a 3" ring mold to create 2 salmon patties.
     Dredge the the salmon patties in plain fine french bread crumbs.  (Just a thin coating is all that is needed.)  
     Keep the chat masala salmon patties chilled till they are needed.

     Crispy Onion Straws:
     Cut 1 onion into paper thin slices.  About 1/2 cup is plenty.
     Place the onion slices in a mixing bowl.
     Season the onions with sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese chile powder.
     Toss the onions with the seasoning.
     Allow the onions to sweat for 10 minutes.
     Add just enough flour to coat the onions.  Toss the paper thin onion rings with the flour.
     Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360º.
     Note:  Fry the onions in small batches, so they do not stick together.
     Pick up some of the flour coated onions and shake off any excess flour.
     Sprinkle the onions into the hot oil, so they do not clump together.
     Fry the flour coated onions, till they become golden brown and crispy.
     Scoop the crispy onions out of the hot oil with a fryer net.
     Place the onion straws on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
     Repeat these last few steps, till all of the onion straws are fried.
     Set the crispy onion straws aside on a stove top and keep them warm.
     Chat Masala Salmon Patty Sliders ~ On Butter Rolls with Betel Leaves, Crispy Onions and Spicy Sweet Adzuki Spread: 
     Heat a saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat.  
     Add enough vegetable oil, so the oil is about 1/8" deep.  Just a thin layer of oil is all that is needed.
     Saute the salmon patties on both sides, till they become golden brown and fully cooked.  Be sure to flip the patties twice, to avoid excessive browning.  (A 165º center temperature for 15 seconds is best, from a health standpoint.)  
     Place the salmon patties in a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the salmon patties warm on a stove top.    
     Warm 2 Butter Bread Slider Roll in an oven.
     Split the 2 Butter Bread Slider Rolls in half.
     Spread a thin layer of the Spicy Sweet Adzuki Spread on the rolls.
     Place a thin layer of betel leaves on the bottom half of the slider rolls.  (About 3 or 4 leaves on each roll is plenty.)
     Place the Chat Masala Salmon Patties in the betel leaves.
     Place the unfinished slider set ups on a plate. 
     Mound some crispy onions on the salmon patties.
     Lean the top of the slider rolls agains the sliders.
     Place any extra Spicy Sweet Adzuki Spread in a ramekin and set it on the plate.  
     Garnish the plate with a few betel leaves.

     This fusion salmon patty slider recipe is about as exotic salmon patty recipes get!  All of the flavors go well together.  Yum!  ...  Shawna  

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