Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, which means summer is right around the corner. Normally I’m thrilled like everyone else, but this year I have something else on my mind that makes me feel more anxious-excited than regular excited. If you’ve been following my blog you know that baby #3 is on his way in less than two months…actually 1 month and 3 weeks, or if you prefer 7 weeks and 5 days, or to be perfectly precise exactly 54 days from now.
As a result I feel like there is this giant clock ticking over my head, reminding me daily how many things I still need to get done to be “ready.” (Although, after having already done this twice, I do know that there really is no way to be totally “ready” for a baby. I mean, a whole new person is entering our family and changing it forever, so how can you be prepared for what that will be like?)
I keep having those dreams where I’m back in high school or college and I’ve completely forgotten a major assignment, or haven’t gone to class for an entire semester and now I have to take the final exam. It’s my brain’s way of keeping the pressure on me, even while I sleep. Perhaps they will subside once the nursery is finished being painted, and the crib is assembled, and I’ve unpacked the baby clothes from the basement, and… you get the idea.
To take my mind off of all this, at least for a moment, let’s talk about these sliders. They are my take on Mexican tortas, which are kind of like Italian paninis, basically a grilled sandwich if you know what I mean. I think they would be a fun shake-up to the usual hamburgers & hot dogs of a traditional Memorial Day cookout. You could even get a little slider-happy and offer your guests a few different versions of mini burgers if you have the time and energy, or just make these the stars of a Mexican-themed party instead. Whatever your plans this weekend, I hope you enjoy some good food in the company of good people and forget whatever else is on your mind for a little while.
Mexican Skirt Steak Sliders (adapted from rickbayless.com)
- 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- vegetable oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 12 slider rolls (preferably ones with a bit of a crusty exterior)
- 12 small slices of Monterey jack cheese
- Gucamayo (see recipe below)
- Mexican Steak Sauce (see recipe below)
- Prepare the Gucamayo and Mexican Steak Sauce (see recipes below). (This can be done up to 2 days in advance, if desired.)
- Preheat a grill to medium-high. Skewer the onion slices and lightly coat with vegetable oil. Season with salt & pepper. Spoon some of the Mexican Steak Sauce over the skirt steak & rub in with your hands. Grill the onion and steak until the onions are soft and steak is cooked to your liking (about 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare). Set aside to cool. Remove the onion slices from the skewers and slice the steak into small strips. (This can be done up to 1 day in advance, if desired.)
- In a large skillet heat 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the beans. Mash the beans into a thick paste. Add 2 Tablespoons of water and season with salt & pepper. Remove from heat. (This can also be done up to 1 day in advance, if desired. You might need to add a little extra water to get it back to the right consistency if you do this.)
- Preheat your grill to medium-low. Lay out the slider rolls on a tray. Smear tops with Gucamayo and place a slice of cheese on top. Smear bottom pieces with the bean mixture, add a few slices of steak, a couple rings of onion, and splash with a little Mexican Steak Sauce. Grill until the cheese is melted on the tops and the bottoms have warmed up. Assemble the tops & bottoms and serve immediately with extra Guacamayo & Mexican Steak Sauce on the side.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 avocado, pit & skin removed
- 1/4 cup (loosely packed) cilantro
- juice from 1/2 of a lime
- salt & pepper
- Combine all ingredients (except salt & pepper) in a blender. Blend until thoroughly combined. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 3 garlic cloves, quartered
- 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
- salt & pepper
- Combine all ingredients (except salt & pepper) in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Let cool & refrigerate until needed.