This is ones of those things that sounds fancy, looks fancy and tastes amazing, but is actually quite simple. Not to mention that it pleased everyone from my 3 year old, to my foodie sister (and more importantly, me). We actually had these at my husband’s Christmas party way back at the end of November last year and I have been meaning to make them ever since. It was a fantastic, cook your own Christmas dinner party at the Cookbook Company here in Calgary and they sent home the recipes afterwards. I was in charge of a lot of egg whites for the souffles and didn’t actually get to see how this was done, so I had some strangely shaped gougeres at the end of it, but they tasted fantastic, so all’s well that ends well. Thank you Chef Craig Westhaver for the wonderful recipe!
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup cold water
1 cup flour
salt and red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a boil. Once all the butter is melted in, add the flour, salt, red pepper flakes (a dash or two), and cumin seeds. Stir together and continue to cook over medium heat until a ball forms and pulls smoothly from the walls of the pot. For me this happened pretty much by the time everything was combined. Remove from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each addition. Stir in the cheese. Preheat oven to 400 and line two cookie sheets with parchment. Pipe or spoon onto parchment into the size (keeping in mind how big you want your sliders to be) and shape you want; they will puff up a little, but not a ton, so pile the dough up a bit or you will end up with very flat gourgeres like me. Bake for about 20 minutes without ever opening the oven door. They are done when crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle. This should make about 2 to 2 1/2 dozen. I made mine the day before, kept them in a plastic bag and then just popped them back in a hot oven for 3 minutes to crisp them back up before serving; worked like a charm.
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 Tbsp bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything together using just the ends of your fingertips, taking care not to squish or squeeze the meat, this will keep it very tender. I made 2 oz patties, which was actually a little too big, I think next time I will aim for 1 to 1 1/2 oz patties, which should make about 22 to 25 sliders. I cooked mine on a hot grill for about 3 minutes a side, which was perfect. Again, I made the patties the day before and then cooked them just prior to serving. I have also frozen some raw, which came out perfectly if you were wanting to get this step done well in advance.
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
4-6 cloves garlic, pureed (I did this with the parsley in the food processor, then added to olives at the end until finely chopped)
2 Tbsp minced parsely
1/2 cup kalamata olives, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
red pepper flakes and salt to taste
1 – 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (optional, taste first as lemon may be enough)
In a non-reactive bowl. whisk together egg, mustard and lemon juice. Then, slowly, in a long, thin stream add in the olive oil while vigorously whisking to emulsify. Add the remaining ingredients, tasting and adjusting salt, vinegar and red pepper flakes at the end. Again, I made this the day before.
To serve, halve the gougeres, add a Tbsp or so of aioli to the bottom, followed by a slider, top with the top of the gourgere. With everything done the day before, the whole platter of these came together in about 15-20 minutes, including cooking the sliders.