Chef Lorena Garcia wants you to step up your Super Bowl spread from run-of-the-mill nachos to something a bit more exciting. The Venezuelan-born chef and restaurateur — you may recognize her from Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, her new cookware line, The Lorena Bella Collection with HSN or those Taco Bell commercials— created this delicious chicken and almond pesto sliders that’ll blow your guest away, perhaps more than the halftime commercials.
Chicken and Almond Pesto Sliders
For the Almond Pesto
3/4 cup extra- virgin olive oil
1 generous cup sliced almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
For the Chicken Sliders
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2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded, de-veined, and finely chopped
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons dried unseasoned bread crumbs
6 ounces mozzarella, sliced into 4 rounds
4 small brioche buns
1 tomato, sliced
1. To make the almond pesto, whisk together the olive oil, almonds, Parmiginao-Reggiano cheese, basil, and garlic in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. To make the sliders, pour the vegetable oil into a large bowl and whisk in the egg. Add the ground chicken, the jalapeno, scallions, cilantro, and salt and stir to combine. Stir in the bread crumbs and then divide the mixture into 4 balls. Slightly flatten each ball into a 11/2- inch- thick patty and set aside.
3. Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill.
4. Grill the burgers until they are golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip over the burgers and place a mozzarella round on top of the burger. Cook until the underside is golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer.
5. While the burgers cook, toast the buns. Place the buns cut side down on the grill (or an upper grill rack if your grill has one) until toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove the buns and burgers from the grill.
6. Place a burger on each bun bottom. Top with a tomato slice and then spoon some almond pesto on top. Cover with the top half of the bun and serve.