The Red Hook, Brooklyn Ballfield Sliders (Jamaican Jerk Beef Patty Burgers with Elote Mash, Mojo-Avocado Spread, Shaved Citrus Red Onions and Crispy Coconut Rice)
Philly cheesesteaks.Chicago deep-dish. Beantown Chowder. Most every city, large or small, has a food that immediately calls it to mind. Yet, the longer I live in New York City, the more convinced I am that though it is well-known that you can get a great pizza slice on every street, certain foods are even MORE ubiquitous than a slice at the corner joint. Street cart Jamaican beef patties, jerk chicken and elote are three of those treats and are as common as hot dogs from a street cart (and oft times are sold from the same place!). Since one of the few things that I cannot get delivered to my doorstep 24-hours-a-day is truly great street food, I have a lot of fun searching out the best when it comes to carts and street vendors. The premier place in Brooklyn to find the best-of-the-best is a series of soccer fields in Red Hook, Brooklyn, known to locals as The Red Hook Ballfields. While you can see some great games every Sunday morning, the real draw is the vendors who line-up to tempt you with their specialties, all of which are the finest examples of the great cart foods of New York City. I have a favorite combination that I like to put together for a memorable meal at the Ballfields: a juicy, allspice-spiked Jamaican beef patty, a creamy-crunchy-salty elote, a plate of mouth-searing jerk chicken cooled by a cup of coconut rice and a citrusy avocado and onion salad, all topped-off with a freshly-brewed shot of sweet Cuban espresso in honor of The City That Never Sleeps. It is one of those combinations that you can get, as the saying goes, only in New York. If this simple-to-make, tribute-to-the-Ballfields burger can make it at Build a Better Burger 2008, it can make it anywhere!
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
4 green onions (whites and greens), trimmed and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons Colavita Red Wine Vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 jalapeno chilies, stemmed and split in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 lbs. ground chuck
3/4 cup Island Jerk Kettle Chips, finely crushed (approximately half of a 5-oz. bag)
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
3 cobs corn, husked and silk removed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
14 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped and divided
3 limes, zested and juiced (zest and juice kept separate)
1 orange, zested and juiced (zest and juice kept separate)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
2 California avocados, halved, pitted and flesh removed from shells
1 large red onion, peeled, cut in half and very thinly sliced
1 cup crisped rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
12 soft potato dinner rolls
Brush your grill rack with a coating of olive oil from your 1/2 cup of oil (reserving the remaining 1 tablespoon for use later in the recipe). Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
To a food processor or blender, add your reserved 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the next 8 ingredients (green onions through espresso) and puree until emulsified, about 15 to 20 seconds. This is your jerk seasoning mixture. Pour the jerk seasoning mixture into a large bowl and add the ground chuck. Gently toss the ground chuck with the jerk seasoning mixture until well incorporated. Add the finely crushed Island Jerk Kettle Chips to the meat mixture and gently toss to combine. Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup, measure out and form 12 equally-sized patties just a little larger than the diameter of your rolls. Season each patty generously on both sides with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper. These are your Jamaican Jerk Beef Patty Burgers. Chill the patties to firm.
Re-baste your grill from the 1/2 cup of olive oil and place the cleaned corn directly upon the grill. Grill the corn for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, then rotate and grill for another 3 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill and set aside until cool enough to handle. While your corn is cooling, add your mayonnaise, queso fresco and 1/4 cup of the chopped cilantro (reserving the remaining 1/2 cup for later use) to a medium-sized bowl and, using a fork, mash the ingredients together. When you can handle the grilled corn, cut the kernels from the cobs and, using the dull side of your knife, run your knife down the cobs to release any corn cream from the cob. Transfer the corn kernels and any cream to the mayonnaise mixture and stir to combine. This is your Elote Mash. Chill the Elote Mash until ready to serve.
Mince together the 1/2 cup reserved fresh cilantro with the lime and orange zests to release their oils. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside. In a separate small, non-reactive bowl, mix your lime and orange juices. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the juice mixture to the bowl containing the minced cilantro and zests and add the garlic and avocado flesh. Using a fork, mash the mixture together until combined. This is your Mojo-Avocado Spread. Chill the spread until ready to serve. To the other bowl containing the bulk of the juice, add your red onions and toss to coat. These are your Shaved Citrus Red Onions. Set the onions aside to marinade.
Pour your crisped rice cereal onto a pie plate or a large dish. Using a small fire-safe skillet, toast the coconut upon your grill until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the toasted coconut to your crisped rice cereal, toss together and set the plate aside. This is your Crispy Coconut Rice.
Re-baste your grill from your olive oil stash and place your rolls cut-side down upon the grill. Grill your rolls for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove your rolls from the grill to rest, grilled-side up.
Re-baste your grill and transfer your Jamaican Jerk Beef Patty Burgers to your grill. Grill the first side for 4 to 5 minutes, or until juices begin to emerge from the top of the burgers. Flip the burgers and continue grilling under your desired doneness. Transfer the grilled burgers to a platter to rest and let the juices redistribute.
To assemble your burgers, spread the bottom cut-side of each toasted roll with a thin layer of the Elote Mash. Top the Elote Mash layer with a Jamaican Jerk Beef Patty Burger and spread another thin layer of your Elote Mash directly atop the burger. Top the Elote Mash with a tangle of the Shaved Citrus Red Onions. Spread the top cut-side of each roll with your Mojo-Avocado Spread and dip the roll, cut-side down, into your Crispy Coconut Rice to encrust the roll. Place the top roll, Crispy Coconut Rice side down, onto the burger and secure with a plain wooden skewer or toothpick, if desired. Serve 2 sliders per person and enjoy! Thanks!
Makes 12 sliders (serves 6 people, with 2 sliders per person).