Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cajun Sausage Sliders with Mozzarella – From the Surreptitious Chef

Pin It We stayed with friends near Bergerac in Dordogne earlier this summer. The sky was a strange blue colour not often seen by Irish people and there was a big golden disc high up in the atmosphere. That’s the Sun, my friends said, seeing my puzzled expression. They explained that it was an object of worship. I was introduced to a ceremony which locals call Le Pique-Nique - a form of Sun worship. Apparently people in Dordogne regularly practice this form of reverence which involves dining al fresco while basking in a warm glow called Sunshine - also unheard of in Ireland.

Cajun Sausage Sliders ... the surprise hit from the Surreptitious Chef!
“Let’s have a gourmet Pique-Nique!” my beloved announced with the zeal of the newly converted. “Everyone must produce a dish.”

“Groan,” said the other men in the party, greeting his suggestion with great enthusiasm.
Recipe for a gourmet Pique-Nique: Great food, great company, perfect location

The menu included prawns and scallops to be cooked on site, bacon-wrapped asparagus, Caprese salad, salty-sweet Parma-wrapped Charantais melon, egg mayo, the obligatory potato salad, plenty of local rosé and a stunning lakeside location. From the man’s man, the bloke’s bloke, the guy’s guy of the party, came a surprise hit – these spicy sausage sliders with a melting cheesy centre.

I asked this surreptitious chef if I could feature his idea on my blog. “Sure,” he said, “just so long as you don’t tell anyone who I am. You’ll destroy my street cred!”

Don’t worry - your secret is safe with me, Trevor. Ooops!

For 10 sliders you will need...

Cajun Spice Mix

1 small clove garlic
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

500g good quality meaty sausages (pork, lamb, beef – your choice)
100g Mozzarella, divided into 10 even pieces
A little olive oil or sunflower oil for cooking

Cajun Spice Mix - some like it hot!

1                    Using a pestle and mortar, pound all the spice mix ingredients together until the garlic is reduced to pulp and mixed to a damp powder with the herbs and spices – a food processor will do the trick too.
2                    Remove the sausages from their skins and place in a bowl. Mix until the meat forms a ball (hands are best for this job). Divide the mixture into 10 portions and form each into a ball. Make a dent in the centre of each portion and press a piece of mozzarella into each. Cover over with the meat, sealing the cheese inside. Flatten each portion into a patty. Sprinkle the spice mix over the patties, turning to ensure an even coating. Chill until ready to use.
3                    Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a gentle heat and cook the patties for about 4 minutes each side. You want a gentle sizzle going on so that the inside is cooked through long before the outside even thinks about burning.
4                    Sandwich between mini-burger buns, or mini pita rounds, or ciabatta as I’ve done with these. Serve with your favourite slider accompaniments.

My Cajun spice mix has a bit of a kick. If you can’t stand the heat, take it down a notch by reducing the amount of white pepper and cayenne.
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