Mojito Sliders

In what seemed to be a former life by now, I divined something called Mojito Sliders.

I don’t even remember how I came up with this recipe. I was invited by some colleagues to participate in a recipe contest sponsored by the Pork Council, in the spring of 2011. The grand prize was $1000 and between you and me, that was the main motivation for my entering the contest. That sum would have come in very handy at that hour.

It turned out that pure unbridled joy was more what the contest yielded for me. My recipe made the top three in contention, and I got to attend a really fun event to rep my Mojito Sliders (that someone else prepared, I simply needed to show up). The three recipes were tasted and judged by a relatively-celebrity panel.

The love I received from that panel rocked my world. The lovely Cuban Chef-owner of Casablanca (foto below, far left), the iconic Mexican haunt in Venice (CA), said my recipe made him want to dance. He personally gave me gift certificates to his restaurant and he joyfully greeted my friends and me when we dined there.

Another judge was a DJ for 107.1 (foto below, far right), my favorite LA Latin radio station, and together we mutually lamented that we weren’t going to the upcoming Mana’ concert because the tickets had sold out in a few hours; he couldn’t even get them. We’re still friends on Facebook.

Spoiler alert – I did not win the grand prize, my recipe came in second (for which I won a generous gift card :). The first-place winner (foto below, second from right) told a touching story for her recipe, which I believe won the judges’ hearts.

Me? I did not know a story was required so I simply improvised and said bikini season was coming up so using non-fat yogurt for the Mojito slider sauce was good for the waistline!

Wish I’d worked that one a little differently LOL! (I’m in foto below, in the red.)

Never mind – the rest of the story goes like this. I started my post as the Spanish Bar Chef shortly after that but, did not have these sliders on my menu because they didn’t seem Spanish. Then. I went to Barcelona and found that Mojitos were all the rage at every turn.

Immediately upon my return, Mojitos Sliders became all the rage on my own blackboard menu. People even offered to pay me to take containers of the sauce home.

We had a winner, and have ever since. These never, ever, ever disappoint.

Mojito Sliders

Slider rolls for serving, about 12 – lightly toasted if you’d like

About 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Zest and juice of 1 fresh lime

1 lb boneless roast beef or pork

(Tri-tip or steak pieces or pork tenderloin all work well)

Sprinkle of sugar

In shallow baking dish, mix olive oil, chopped mint leaves, and the zest and juice of the two limes.

Add whole meat pieces to marinade and turn gently. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Allow meat to sit in this mix for only about 20-30 minutes at room temperature.

Make mojito sauce while meat marinates:

2 cups plain whole milk yogurt

¼ cup fresh mint leaves + more to taste

¼ cup sugar + more to taste

zest and juice of two fresh limes + more to taste

salt to taste

This is the tricky part. I will share what I do, and then you may use these amounts as a guideline. You are eventually going to make this sauce as you personally like it, so trust that this is not exact science!

 Stir the yogurt well and set aside. It’s best if you can “muddle” or mortar-and-pestle (mash well) the mint leaves, lime zest and juice, and sugar together, with a pinch of salt.

Do one round of this, and add to the yogurt. Taste it and see what it needs more of, and add more mint, sugar, lime, even salt, accordingly, as you like it. What I do is taste, adjust, taste, adjust – until I love it, then it’s done. You will do well to follow this lead too!

 Grill or roast the meat to desired doneness, medium well is nice. See safe temperature chart here. Let it sit before slicing, then on little slider rolls, place meat slices and top with as much sauce as you’d like, and you have some amazing sliders! 

Makes about 12 sliders.

Note: Leftover sauce is delicious added to your smoothie the next morning!

Diana Scalia

Diana Scalia

Your Chef and Tour Maestra

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