Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Caprese Sliders

If Caprese Salad is one of your go-to's at Italian restaurants, you will love this spin off of the traditional slider recipe. Melty mozzarella, dried basil (or fresh if you prefer), grape tomatoes dipped in balsamic vinegar... all on a Sweet Hawaiian roll. These are perfect for lunch or appetizers.

A few months ago, we hosted some of my friends for dinner and had barbecue sliders. It was delicious and everyone had a great time. This group of friends mostly comes from agriculture. One of the ladies grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin; another on a beef farm in Virginia; and the other friend used to be my neighbor. She's great and puts up with all of us talking farming all the time.

We are all very passionate about agriculture, but none of us farm exactly the same way and we don't agree on absolutely everything. That's the great thing about agriculture. While there are plenty of choices in the grocery store for you, there are also many production methods for farmers to accomplish the same goal of taking excellent care of their animals and producing a healthy, nutritious and safe food supply. Choice is a good thing.

When talking about dairy farms, the cows may be out on pasture, they may live in a free stall barn where they can lay down in any stall they want and have constant access to feed and water, or they may live in a pack barn without stalls where they can also choose where to lay down and they have around the clock access to feed and water. There are so many ways to do a great job taking care of animals. For more about how dairy farmers take care of their cows, check out this post.

At the end of the day, farmers all work hard. Farming is not easy work and it takes a lot of time and dedication. Those that aren't dedicated usually don't last very long in this business. Cows don't take holidays and they can't read a clock. You can plan all you want, but ultimately those cows may make you late for an event or two (or a lot more than that!). However, ask anyone who farms and they likely will tell you they don't want to do anything else. This passion is passed down from generation to generation with the farming legacy.

As you get together with your family and friends this summer, take some of these sliders! They are sure to be a hit.

Caprese Sliders

What you'll need...

  • Sweet Hawaiian rolls
  • Butter, melted
  • Dried basil
  • Mozarella cheese, sliced
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Balsamic vinegar
Kitchen Equipment
  • Frying pan(s) to fit the number of sliders you are making (if you want to make them all at the same time)
  • Small bowl to melt butter in
  • Small bowl for balsamic vinegar
  • Brush for melted butter

How to make it...

  1. Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave for 30-60 seconds until melted (the amount you need will vary depending on how many sliders you are making
  2. Before dividing the rolls, slice the sheet of rolls through the middle to form sliders (rolls will be divided afterward)
  3. Using a kitchen brush, cover the bottom of the slider buns with melted butter 
  4. Slice cherry tomatoes in half (after washing them, of course) and dip into balsamic vinegar
  5. Slice mozzarella cheese at your preferred thickness
  6. Distribute cheese slices throughout the sliders
  7. Place grape tomato halves dipped in balsamic vinegar on top of the cheese
  8. Cover both with dried basil
  9. Place the tops of the sliders over the basil
  10. Using a kitchen brush, cover the tops of the slider buns with melted butter, then add basil
  11. Cut the sliders apart into bunches to fit your frying pan (there should be several attached in the frying pan at one time) and place into a hot frying pan
  12. Using medium heat, watch the level of browning on the bottom of the slider buns. The goal is to be slightly brown and to melt the cheese. 
  13. Once cheese is melting and before the bottom of the sliders burn, flip the sliders over for a minute (like you would with a grilled cheese sandwich)
  14. Flip again and remove from the frying pan
  15. Let sliders cool for a minute and then cut apart into individual sliders 
  16. Enjoy!

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