Turkey Sliders with Sweet Plantain Chips

Turkey sliders with recao pesto mayo and sweet plantain chips

...and the recao pesto mayo makes them out of this world!

This is a very happy recipe.  Not because of the food but because it puts me in a very happy mood.  It’s a very let’s have fun mood during a lazy afternoon with all the food around and the laughter of the people you care about.  Probably it’s because the first time I made this recipe was to welcome my sister and my nephew who was going to be staying the whole summer.  And every time I make this turkey sliders is to have fun and celebrate good times, so very good memories come to my head when I think of them.  Now here we go again. He has been here since a couple of weeks now and it’s going to be for a couple more.  So the movie nights and nutella midnight snacks have been the rule of the summer!

Queso blanco del país, a local Puerto Rican cheese

And well, yes.  It is also a happy recipe because of the food, because the flavors at the end are amazing.  The turkey is moist, in part because I don’t get scantly with the olive oil, and also because I put in the patties crumbles of Puerto Rican queso blanco, which is a local mild crumbly milk cheese, not too soft or too hard.  This creates creamy pockets on the meat and gives them a nice contrast.  Also the buns are warmed in the oil where the sliders were made, so they absorb all the beautiful flavors, so they are the perfect bed for the recao pesto mayo, which is fresh and a little more pungent than the traditional basil pesto mayo (if you have never heard about it, learn more about recao, which is an extremely popular herb in Puerto Rican cuisine, in my Puerto Rican chicken fricassée post).  The wow touch is the sweet plantains chips.  Mine are more chewy than hard, but the combination was perfect with the sliders and the buttery buns and the flavorful recao sauce.  Our mouths were really dancing.

Sweet plantain chips with infused rosemary olive oil

Last but not least, it will be a happier recipe because it’s the first one I’m doing to make a guest post at another blog, Spoon Foods Tours.  This is the blog from some lovely friends who have a super cool business of doing food tours around the island.  You should visit their page, even if you don't have plans to come visit us soon.  Mind traveling is a great hobby as well!  You jump into a bus and visit the best food places around, from native spots to nicer and trendier see-and-be-seen venues.  I’m very happy to share the sweet plantain chips recipe over their site and meet new friends, so go over there and fetch it. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe, which I happen to love.  I think everyone has good recipes that put their minds in a happy place.  What are some of these recipes for you?  I will love to know…

Turkey sliders with recao pesto mayo
Turkey sliders or turkey burgers

Recipe notes:

1.     The recao pesto mayo could be done in advance.  It will be good in the fridge for two or three days.

2.     Don’t skip the step of heating the buns over the warm cooking oil of the sliders.  This makes a huge difference.  In the outcome.

3.     For frying the sweet plantain chips use a cooking thermometer.  If you don’t have one, test the oil by dropping a tiny piece of the plantains when you see some movement in the liquid.  If the oil makes bubbles fast it’s ready.

 Recao pesto mayo
Total time –
25 minutes  Active time – 7 minutes
Equipment – Food processor

Recao, finely minced – 3 TBSP
Olive oil - 1TBSP
Fine sea salt – ¼ Tsp
Freshly squeezed lemon juice – 1 TBSP
Mayonnaise – 1 cup

In a food processor mix the recao, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice until everything is well combined.  Add the mayo and pulse a couple of times to mix everything.  Reincorporate whatever mayo is spreaded at the walls of the food processor bowl, then pulse a couple of times more to mix everything well.

Place in a bowl and let it chill for a while.

Turkey sliders
Total time –
30 minutes  Active time – 15 minutes
Equipment – Cast iron or stainless steel pan

Ground turkey – 1 ½ lb
Garlic powder – ¼ Tsp
Ground paprika – ½ Tsp
Fine sea salt – ½ Tsp
Freshly ground black pepper – pinch
Olive oil – 3 TBSP
Freshly squeezed lemon juice – squeeze of ½ lemon
Puerto Rican queso blanco (you may use queso fresco), crumbled – ½ cup

Butter and more olive oil for cooking, slider buns, sliced Campari tomatoes and micro greens or lettuce to serve.

Gently mix the ground turkey with the garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper.  Then add the olive oil and lemon and gently mix again, until the meat looks well coated with the oil and gets an even red color (because of the paprika), then fold in the cheese crumbles.  Cover the meat with plastic paper (the plastic touching the meat), and then cover the bowl with another piece of plastic paper.  Let it chill for 20 to 30 minutes.  You could do the sweet plantains chips while the meat is resting.

Pour a drizzle of olive oil and a teaspoon or so of butter in a cast iron pan and heat in medium.  Form sliders of approximately 2 ¼ “ wide and 1” high.  Slightly pat them down.  Place a couple of sliders at once in the pan, not overcrowding it, and cook for 3 minutes, then flip them and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more, until the patty fells firm, but do not press or pat them while they are cooking.  Retire from the pan and cook the remaining sliders.  Probably you’ll need to add more oil and butter for cooking so retire the pan form the heat, wait around 30 seconds, add the oil and butter and then place the pan again on the heat.

When you have finished cooking the sliders, add a little more butter to the pan for it to melt.  Throw in the tops and bottoms of the buns and cook them for 1 minute or less on each side, until the borders are a little bit charred, moving the upside of the tops around so everything absorbs the butter.

Prepare the sliders with a lettuce leave on the bottom, a teaspoon of the recao mayo, a slice of tomato, some greens and more recao mayo on the bottom of the top bun.  Eat with the plantain chips, like there’s no other way to eat them!

Sweet plantain chips
Total time –
20 minutes  Active time – 15 minutes
Equipment – Skillet and cooking thermometer

Sweet plantains – 1 or 2, medium
Rosemary – 2 or 3 springs
Fine sea salt – 1 Tsp + more to serve
Olive or grape seed oil – for frying, 2 or 3 cups

Peel the sweet plantains and prepare a bowl with water and the salt.  Using a mandolin or a very sharp pairing knife slice them very finely and place the slices in the bowl with water.  Let them soak for 5 minutes.  Very gently pick each of the slices and place them in a paper towel to absorb the excess water.  Pat them with another paper towel.

In a stainless steel skillet heat the oil with the rosemary until it reaches a temperature of 325° (the rosemary leaves will start to burn).  Take out the rosemary springs and drop some of the slices of the sweet plantains, taking care of not overcrowding the pan.  Fry each of them around 2 minutes per side, when the borders start to look golden brown it’s time to flip them up.  When they’re done transfer to a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Sprinkle with extra sea salt while they’re still warm.

If you are from Puerto Rico you'll like to know that the microgreens are from Tropical Fresh Greens and the cute sliders buns were courtesy of the good people of Baguettes de Puerto Rico, they made these buttery and soft buns and surprised me with some brioche mini buns that put my imagination to run... This means new recipe soon!!