Aired March 31, 2011
1 Fresno chili pepper, sliced into 1/8-1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or vegetable oil, plus more for drizzling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons yellow onion, grated
1 large clove garlic, grated or minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a small handful), finely chopped
2 pounds coarse ground beef sirloin or chuck
12 2-inch x 2-inch slices of sharp yellow cheddar or smoked yellow cheddar cheese
12 slider rolls, such as 3-inch brioche rolls or cornmeal-topped dinner rolls, split
Pre-heat a griddle or grill to medium-high heat.
Cut the tops off the jalapeño peppers and, using an apple corer or fork handle, scoop out the seeds and slice into 1/8-1/4-inch rings.
Place a small skillet over medium-high heat with one turn of the pan of EVOO. Add the jalapeño peppers and Fresno chili pepper to the pan and toss for a couple minutes to char the edges of the peppers. The peppers should remain tender-crisp.
While the peppers are cooking, in a small mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese with the onion, garlic, salt and pepper, cumin and cilantro. Set aside.
Season the meat with salt and pepper and form twelve, 2-3-inch slider-size patties, thinner at the center and thicker at edges for even cooking. Drizzle the patties with EVOO, then cook on a hot griddle or grill for 2-3 minutes. Flip the patties and top with a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture, setting the mixture in place with a slice of cheese. Cook for 2-3 minutes more with the grill top down or tent the patties with foil to melt the cheddar over the small mound of cream cheese.
Serve the sliders on rolls topped with the charred hot pepper slices.