Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cuban Fritas and Special Sauce

Here are a couple quick recipes to take burgers or sliders to another level without much effort. On New Years Eve I made a bunch of wings along with around 20 sliders. To make the preparation easier I decided to go with an assembly line preparation of the burgers similar to McDonald's or White Castle. It allowed me to quickly grill the patties and get them in peoples mouths without having them top their own burger. I figured that there was enough food that picky eaters could find something else.
They ended up being a hit and I have made the special sauce a few more times for other burgers or dipping sauce for fries.
I was watching "You Gotta Eat Here" (A Canadian food show), that was actually set in Miami for an episode and saw a burger place where they topped the burgers with crispy fried potatoes. I didn't see the full episode but was captivated by this old guy that manned the fryer station at his family's restaurant and stubbornly refused to believe anyone else could fry a potato with his expertise. It turns out that it is pretty easy and well worth the effort if you want to get that burger and fries feel without actually serving a burger and fries.
For the sliders I took a couple bags of buttery white dinner buns, sliced them in half, started with special sauce, burger (beef, pork, garlic, and smoked paprika), cheddar or jalapeno-jack cheese, pickle slices, special sauce, a handful of fritas, and finally the top of the bun.
 I'll start with the fritas (they can be prepared in advance and stored in a container):

  • 1 potato
  • 1 liter canola oil
  • salt

  1.  Scrub your potato clean under cool water.
  2. Grate the potato with the larger holes on a box grater into a bowl of cold water.
  3. Rinse the starch from the potato shreds in the bowl until it runs clear. 
  4. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
  5. In a high sided pot or deep fryer heat the oil to 350 F and lower the potatoes into the oil (I fried mine in 2 or 3 batches).
  6. Fry them for around 6 minutes stirring slightly to keep them from sticking together.
  7. Remove from the oil and season with salt.
  8. They should be good for a few days in a container.

The "special/secret" sauce is just a mixture of a few things you might put on a burger anyways. I was excited to make it because Jess/Santa had given me a nifty squeeze bottle in my stocking for Christmas and I was looking for something to put in it. This is probably better if you make it at least 6 hours before you eat so that the flavours have a little time to blend.

  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a fork or whisk. 
  2. Taste test with some fritas and readjust the seasoning if needed.
  3. Line a tall drinking glass with a sandwich bag and pour the sauce into the bag.
  4. Cut the corner off the bag and transfer to your squeeze bottle (this is easier than a funnel because the sauce is pretty thick).

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