IMG_0802-0.JPGNo one really knows where the term ‘slider’ came from, though it’s been suggested that it came from the US Navy where the pitching and rolling of the warships caused the greasy burgers to ‘slide’. Yah, ok. Why not? White Castle had their shtick with the little sliders and even Burger King had their ‘BK Burger Shots’ which…quite frankly I tried a number of years ago and found extremely wanting for too many reasons to explain.

And now, as folks tend to eschew meat a lot more, it makes sense to simply watch our intake, choose better quality meat, and…eat a little less. Tonight I made three Italian Pickled Mayo Sliders for our dinner because…because, well…I didn’t want my wife to have to eat leftovers from last night for both lunch and dinner.

Starting with the lowest, fattiest grade of ground beef (fat is your friend in moderation) I seasoned both with salt and pepper and a bit of ground breadcrumbs and sautéed them for a total of 6-7 minutes. While that proceeded, I had taken some red onion and marinated it in a bit of good quality balsamic vinegar and added it to the cooking burgers beside them to cook and caramelize them.

Meanwhile, I cut up some varied cornichons, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms I’d gathered at the Berkeley Bowl olive bar and mixed them in with some mayonnaise. When the burgers were finished, I set them to drain on some paper towels, spread the mayo/pickle mixture on the bottom of each one of the slider buns, and put the burger on top, each with a small slice of provolone. Draped over this were the balsamic red onion strands, and then a mix or arugula and Asian baby greens.

I’ve got to say…very delicious and layered; the juicy burger, the crunchy and tart mayo pickle mixture, the creamy, melted cheese, and the sweet finish of the balsamicized red onions. I had two and my wife had one, finished off with a bit of a Spanish Rioja our friend Nena brought over the other night. And kinda guilt-free, too. Fewer calories, great taste.

Its simple meals like this that puts paid to the notion that paying. $12-15 for a god-damned hamburger, be it 510, True, or Victory. I have nothing against these burgers or these businesses, but while they do a great job of supporting alternative food distribution, local and sustainably raised produce and beef, and maybe even social justice with a living wage…it’s still…$10-15 for a burger with all the trimmings.

That’s still a bit crazy to me. I guess I’m fortunate that I’m a capable cook and can make these basic dishes on my own. With nary a view to their own approach or recipes, I put this together after visiting a couple of websites touting their ‘Italian burger’.

Look, folks. Spend $10-15 for a burger if you must. These places are making a stand and making changes, and they probably have better cocktails and beers than I could make. And ambience, and the joy of eating out. All good.

But it’s a #%$&ing burger. Make one at home; make two and invite a friend or a neighbor over. Open a bottle of beer. Start with ‘burger’ and then think…oh, Italian. Or German, or Thai. Maybe even Russian. Go with it. Have fun.