One day friends and I were discussing the merits of junk food. As you do while you're watching True Blood. And one thing that struck us all was that it never looks as good as the ads says that it does. Occasionally, we go to a fast food chain (usually while travelling) and I point at the glowing picture of a cheeseburger all resplendent and luscious and a few minutes later, receive what resembles a bunched up round cleaning sponge in wax paper. I look at the image above and my burger and wonder if they have anything in common.
A photographer once told me that to shoot these lovely shots, they inserted pieces of cardboard or styrofoam between each layer so that each layer looks perky and distinct, so they don't melt into each other. I'm a huge fan of layering anything really and that afternoon, dreamed up a nine layer slider using sketches as a guide.
Oh how we've caught onto the slider phenomenon, an American idea that apparently originated at the White Castle chain where they trademarked the term Slyder in reference to how easy they were to eat and slide down the throat. It's essentially a mini hamburger and versions of these have been popping up in cafes, restaurants and hipster joints all over. Like burgers, they can be filled with all sorts of things including fancier filling like crab, wagyu, truffles or even oyster a la po' boy style.
This version is one that didn't involve and cardboard or styrofoam layers and is based on a hybrid or two favourite foods: sliders and nachos. They're ideal for entertaining and are really quite quick to make especially once you have all the fillings ready. And with these, I promise there is no disappointing look or regret that something doesn't look as it was supposed to. Just the point in the constellations where nachos meets burger and sparks fly.
So tell me Dear Reader, what is your favourite junk food? I have to admit burgers and fries are one of mine as are potato chips! And do you find that things don't look like they used to?
Nine Layer Nachos Sliders
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
500g/1 pound beef mince
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon- 1 tablespoon chilli powder (depending on how hot the chilli powder is and how hot you like it or whether you're making these for kids)
2 teaspoon mild chilli flakes (optional, you can tell I love chilli right? ;) )
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch or oregano
oil for frying
For the rest of the slider
8 small dinner rolls or slider buns
4 tablespoons sour cream
guacamole* recipe below
cheese-sliced thick so it can melt all over
small jar of salsa
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
small pack of corn chips
small tin of refried beans
Step 1 - Firstly, make the beef patties. I do this in a food processor but of course you can just use a knife but I like the smooth consistency of doing it in a processor. In a food processor, chop the onions and garlic and add the rest of the ingredients including the beef and process until smooth. Have a container or large tray ready and with wet hands, shape into round patties roughly the size of the bun. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F (this is to melt the cheese) and line a baking tray with parchment. Heat a frypan and add some oil and cook the patties on both sides until done inside, I find that when you press in the centre and it springs back then it is done. Place the cheese on top and place in the oven to melt the cheese for about 5 minutes.
Step 3 - Have a production line ready for the rest. Now layering is a serious matter here when you're dealing with nine layers. I've listed the ingredients above in the order in which I've added them starting from the bottom. First, add a thin layer of guacamole and sour cream-not too much or your patty will slide off (which I guess is in line with the name of slider). Then add the melted cheese topped beef patty. On top of this, add a teaspoon of salsa, then the slice of tomato and then lettuce. Then on the top half of the bun, spread some refried beans and add a corn chip to this and then sandwich this all together. Because these are small, you won't need to unhinge your jaw to eat this. Unless you are a child, in which unhinging your jaw is part of the fun.
My inauthentic but quick guacamole
1 ripe medium sized avocado
3-4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
squeeze of lime juice (about 1-2 teaspoons to taste)
salt and pepper
Step 1 - Process all ingredients in a food processor or mash with a fork.