So, it’s no secret that I absolutely love Spanish chorizo. I especially love the spicy kind and it somehow finds its way into a lot of my cooking. A little bit goes a long way in terms of flavor and color. It’s also no secret around these parts that my husband loves Cuban food. I mean, loves.
One of his Cuban favorites is the frita — a small, griddled burger flavored with paprika and onions. The ground beef can also be mixed with some ground chorizo for a more intense flavor. This is the route I chose to go with dinner last night. I also made them slider-sized instead of the more traditional jr. cheeseburger size. The beef to chorizo ratio was 2:1, which I thought would be too much, but ended up being just right. I added a thin slice of cucumber to each slider as a cool contrast to the hot chorizo, a tiny squeeze of mayo and housed everything in toasted ciabatta bread.
They were beefy, smoky and really fun to eat. Like a grown-up, ethnic White Castle.
Cuban Frita Sliders
8 oz. hot Spanish chorizo
1 lb. very lean, ground beef (preferably all-natural and grass-fed)
1 loaf ciabatta bread, or a few smaller rolls
1 tbsp. mayonaise
Preheat your oven’s broiler, then line a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. You don’t want to use a flat cookie sheet because the fat in the chorizo will render and pool as it cooks and you don’t want that dripping onto the oven floor!
Slice the loaf of ciabatta into 2-inch slices lengthwise, then crosswise so that you end up with a bunch of square pieces. Cut each of the pieces in half and hollow out bready centers. You want thin buns to keep the bread to meat ratio in check. (Note: Reserve the bready centers for later use as breadcrumbs or moisteners for meatloaf or meatballs.) Line the pieces on the prepared cookie sheet crust-side down and place under the broiler for 30 seconds, or until they just begin to toast. Watch them carefully or they’ll burn!
Once the buns are toasted, remove them from the cookie sheet. Next, remove the casing from the chorizo and discard. Cut the chorizo into manageable pieces and grind in a food processor. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the chorizo and beef together until they’re evenly distributed, then make small patties that are about 2 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick. Place them on the prepared cookie sheet as you go. Broil the burgers for 7 – 10 minutes until they’re brown on the outside and just pink on the inside.
While they’re broiling, use your vegetable peeler to create long, thin slices of cucumbers by dragging it along the cucumber from one end to the other. You’ll need about 12 slices, but it takes a few swipes to get slices that are wide enough.
Finally, assemble the burgers by stacking the patty over the bottom bun, adding a folded slice of cucumber and topping with a mayonnaise-brushed top bun.
Makes 12 sliders (4 servings).