These sliders are great for entertaining. You can make the tomato chutney a few days in advance and warm it up when your guests arrive. The chutney is also great with chicken and fish if you have leftovers. Use little bamboo skewers when serving the sliders, it makes them look polished and holds the tops on when you move the platter around. I usually serve the sliders with sides of these frites in little baskets.
The frites were designed to go with the Moroccan Lamb Sliders, but I love them as an afternoon snack or with roast chicken or fish for dinner. I found cute baskets at Pottery Barn (they’re supposed to hold votives) and I serve the frites in them for a bistro look. The Preserved Lemon Aioli is really great with chicken or fish too.
Active Time: 1 hour
Makes Serves 4
1 lb ground lamb
¼ cup coarsely chopped pistachios
½ crumbled feta
¼ cup coarsely chopped oil-cured black olives
2 teaspoons Moroccan spice blend *
*a blend of ground cinnamon, paprika, cumin, turmeric, and cloves
Baby arugula leaves
8 small soft rolls, slit horizontally
2 tablespoons Thrive oil, or another neutral oil
1 cup onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon orange zest
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon harissa – Moroccan chili paste
2 teaspoon preserved lemon, finely diced
1 tablespoon honey
1 14.5 oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
Zucchini & Eggplant Frites
Thrive oil, or another high heat, neutral for deep frying
1 large zucchini
1 small eggplant
1½ cups chickpea flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
Preserved Lemon Aioli
4 large egg yolks
1¼ cup Thrive oil, or another neutral flavored oil
¼ cup good olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
¼ cup preserved lemon, finely diced
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix gently until combined. Form the mixture into 8 2-inch balls and press them gently into patties. Place the patties on a plate, cover and refrigerate while you make the chutney. Bring the patties to room temperature before grilling.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and orange zest and cook for 1 minute. Add the spices and cook for another minute, or until fragrant. Add the harissa and remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chutney has thickened and excess liquid has reduced.
This chutney gets better with time. It will keep for up to a month, chilled in an airtight container. Re-warm before serving.
Heat a grill or griddle to medium-high and brush lightly with oil. Cook the sliders for 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Spread a small amount of chutney on the bottom of each bun and then place a patty on each. Top with a rounded tablespoon of chutney, a few baby arugula leaves and the lid. Slide a bamboo skewer through the top and serve.
Fill a large, heavy pot 1/3 full with oil and heat to 350° F with a deep-frying thermometer. The oil should be at least 2” deep.
Cut the top and bottom off the zucchini and then cut it in half crosswise. Slice each half lengthwise into ½-inch strips. Make two piles out of the strips and cut them lengthwise into long, thin frites. Transfer the zucchini to a large bowl of ice water while you prep the eggplant.
Cut the eggplant the same way you cut the zucchini, trying to keep the frites the same size. This will ensure even cooking. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl with the ice water and let rest while making the aioli.
Set a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet next to the frying oil. In a large bowl, whisk the chickpea flour and salt together. When the oil is hot, drain the vegetables in a colander. Working by the handful dredge the frites in the chickpea flour and shake evenly coat. Fry the zucchini and eggplant, turning occasionally, until golden and crispy – 3 to 4 minutes per batch. Drain the frites on the wire rack and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bring the oil back to 350° F before adding another batch.
Put the egg yolks in a food processor and process until smooth. While the processor is running, slowly add the oils in a steady stream through the hole at the top of the processor. Blend until the aioli is creamy and emulsified. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to just combine.
If you don’t have a food processor make the aioli in a non-reactive bowl with a large whisk. Make sure to whisk the mixture consistently while adding the oils. Whisk in the remaining ingredients at the end.
Transfer the aioli to small ramekins, cover with plastic and chill until ready to serve.
The aioli will last for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Serve the frites in bowls or little wire baskets with the aioli on the side.