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By the Book: Jean-Georges’ Sliders with Russian Dressing and Yuzu Pickles

January 31st 02:01pm, 2012

bookcoverSMALLIMAGEWelcome to By the Book, a new weekly online column in which we try our hand at recipes from some of the many amazing cookbooks that come across our desks. We thumb through, pick a dish and then get cooking – revealing the recipe we chose and the results of our culinary journey. Scroll to the bottom of the post to find out how you can win a copy of the featured book and to see last week’s By the Book winner.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten started his career at the age of 16 working as an apprentice at L’Auberge de l’Ill – a three Michelin-star-rated restaurant near his home in France. His first task there was plucking the feathers from pheasants that were still warm from the hunt. He recalled this day as being the first time he knew he wanted to be a chef. But he developed his signature style of incorporating Eastern flavors into his food when he started working at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. In the daytime he would make classic French dishes, and at night, he would eat the local food (like tom yum gai) and sample spices and herbs that were new to him, both of which still influence his restaurants today.

In his new book, Home Cooking with Jean-Georges (Check out page 31 of the February issue of Sauce to see our review of this book.), Vongerichten provided recipes for classic French fare like a Niçoise salad and a croque madame, but he also incorporated dishes with Asian influences like slow-cooked salmon in miso-yuzu broth. I decided to make a dish that incorporated flavors both east and west, so I made sliders (I mean, does it get more American than that?) with Russian dressing and yuzu pickles. It was different and flavorful, sweet and sour and spicy and fatty – everything you could want from a single dish. Would I make them again? Absolutely, except next time, I’d throw on a little cilantro, a little less ketchup and a bit more heat! Also, yuzu can be hard to find. In this book, Vongerichten noted that if the fruit is not readily available, you can buy yuzu juice, which can be found in Asian markets. He warns that the potency goes away with time and suggests that you buy a small bottle of the stuff. I couldn’t get my hands on it, so as a substitute I used 1 part lemon juice and 1 part lime juice. The flavor was great.


Sliders with Russian Dressing and Yuzu Pickles
12 Servings

The dressing and pickles here are magic – they make the burger. Sometimes, I make full-size burgers with 7-ounce patties, but I generally prefer sliders. That way, you can eat more of everything else you serve on the side. The best burger meat comes from aged beef chuck that is freshly ground by your butcher.

2¾ pounds freshly ground beef chuck, preferably aged
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 slices pepper Jack cheese
12 mini kaiser or brioche rolls, split
Russian Dressing (recipe follows)
12 small Boston lettuce leaves
Yuzu pickles (recipe follows)
24 tomato slices, from about 6 smaller tomatoes

Heat your grill to medium-high. Use a lightly oiled kitchen towel to carefully grease the grill grate.

Form the beef into 12 patties 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Generously season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. During the last minute of grilling, top each burger with a slice of cheese.

Grill the cut sides of the rolls alongside the patties until golden brown and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate.

Spread a generous layer of dressing on both sides of each roll. Arrange the lettuce on the bottom of each roll, cupped sides up (to capture the mouthwatering meat juices). Transfer the patties to the lettuce-lined buns and immediately top each with a thin layer of tomatoes and then pickles. Season the tomatoes with a little salt. Cover with the buns’ tops and serve immediately.


Russian Dressing
Makes about 2½ cups

When I decided to open my first steakhouse, I knew I needed to have this sauce. Not for a burger, but for a sliced tomato salad. I wanted to riff on the classic by incorporating French cornichons for pickles and Asian ingredients like miso and sriracha. The result is intensely flavorful. I love this over slow-baked salmon, but also enjoy it on sandwiches. I’ve even used it in place of mayo in chicken salad and as a dip for crisp, thin onion rings.

10 cornichons (2 ounces)
1 large egg yolk
3 Tbsp. white (shiro) miso
2½ Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2/3 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1¼ cups ketchup, preferably organic Heinz (Note: I thought this was too much for my taste; I’d start with ½ cup and then add more to your taste.)
2 tsp. sriracha – (Note: I thought this wasn’t enough, but I like it spicy! Add more to your liking.)

Combine the cornichons, yolk, miso, mustard, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water in a food processor. Pulse until the cornichons are just chopped. With the machine running, add the oils in a steady stream until the mixture is emulsified. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the ketchup and sriracha until fully incorporated. The dressing can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Yuzu Pickles
Makes about 3 cups

I love a good bread and butter pickle, so I decided to create my own version. While I don’t have the classic spices here, my blend of rice vinegar and yuzu juice approximates the same acidity of the original. These are terrific with (or on) sandwiches. Of course, I like to eat them straight too.

1 large European cucumber (1 pound)
2 fresh green Thai chiles, halved lengthwise – (Note: I couldn’t find Thai chiles in my regular grocery store, so I subbed them for Serrano chiles.)
1¾ cups Japanese rice vinegar
2 tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbsp. yuzu juice  (Note: I used 1 part lemon juice and 1 part lime juice.)

With a vegetable peeler, remove strips of cucumber peel lengthwise ½-inch apart to create vertical strips. Use a mandoline or a very sharp knife to cut the cucumber crosswise into 1/8-inch slices. Transfer to a non-reactive container

Combine the chiles, vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Stir the yuzu juice into the chile mixture and pour over the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

“Reprinted from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Copyright (c) 2011.  Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.”


For a chance to win a copy of Home Cooking with Jean-Georges, tell us about the most unusual burger you’ve ever had in the comments section below.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Marvis and Mark S., whose comments on last week’s By the Book column have won them each a signed copy of Bluestem, The Cookbook. Marvis and Mark S., keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew regarding your prize!

By Meera Nagarajan

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6 Responses to “By the Book: Jean-Georges’ Sliders with Russian Dressing and Yuzu Pickles”

  1. Cheryl Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    A Tuna Burger with pineapple/avocado – in another country.

  2. SteveSTL Says:
    January 31st, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Seared Foie Gras Sliders with carmelized onions and balsamic reduction. Made them at home with Sweet Potato Fries. Although, looking at these pictures I’m not so sure I wouldn’t rather have the JG burgers…

  3. katie Says:
    February 1st, 2012 at 12:08 am

    An old fashioned cheeseburger when I was two weeks pregnant. I hadn’t eaten beef in nearly 10 years and suddenly all I wanted for nine months were cheeseburgers! Unusual for me!

  4. Joe Says:
    February 1st, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    A friend in high school talked me into inserting a McChicken patty between the beef patties of a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s. I cant say I have dined with The Clown since…

  5. christine Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 6:11 am

    a burger patty made with 50% beef and 50% bacon on brioche with pastrami, fried egg, and more bacon!!

  6. Sauce Magazine Blog » Blog Archive » By the Book: Yvette Van Boven’s summer salad and lemonade Says:
    February 7th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    [...] now, we’d like to congratulate John Ohlms, whose Twitter comment on last week’s By the Book column have won him a copy of Home Cooking with Jean-Georges. John, keep an eye out for [...]

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