I think by now you’ve all heard me mention time and time again, maybe even to the point of annoyance, that I wrote a cookbook a while ago. You may or may not know that it’s a book all about sliders. Mini burgers always and forever. Being the self-proclaimed Slider King of the World, I still very much love this book and am very proud of it and the hard work I put into it. Today, June 28th 2017, marks the one year anniversary of the book’s release. It’s crazy to think that it’s been a full year since it was born into this world, and even crazier to know that people not only enjoy it but also enjoy cooking from it. I myself still grab it off the bookshelf, open it up, and make recipes from it often. The book has 75 recipes all dedicated to one of my favorite foods. It features meat, poultry, vegetarian and even seafood sliders, so you know there is something for everyone. There are even homemade buns and homemade sauces to play around with. I often get asked what’s my favorite slider in the book, and that without a doubt is the Fried Zucchini Sliders in the vegetarian chapter. It is one of the easiest recipes in the book, but packed with so much flavor. It’s almost silly how good it tastes. I thought that sharing the recipe on the blog would be a great way to celebrate this great occasion.
In honor of The Slider Effect’s 1st birthday, I’m giving away a copy of the book to 10 lucky winners! So if you haven’t had a chance to pick one up yet (but have been wanting to) or you just didn’t know about it, now is the time to snag a copy for yourself. All you have to do is leave a comment below letting me know which recipe first drew you to the site originally. I always love reading the comments that say “I found your site while searching for….” or “I came across your recipe for…” It’s interesting to see what drew you guys in, because they’re all so different. If that doesn’t apply to you, you could also leave a comment letting me know what’s your favorite recipe on the site that you’ve tried or have been wanting to try. I’m nosey like that. You have until next Wednesday July 5th to enter and it’s open to anyone and everyone. As always, my mamma will pick the winners at random and they’ll be notified via email. It’s her favorite thing to do. Makes her feels like Oprah. Thank you for keeping the site going. You guys humble me so much.
Before we start on the sliders, let’s make the homemade buttermilk ranch dressing which will be the sauce for our sliders. The recipe is in the book, and it’s incredibly easy to make. I make it all the time, not just for sliders! If you’ve never made your own ranch before, you’re missing out. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until ready to use!
**Tip: You can most definitely use store-bought ranch, if you don’t have the time. If you do, though, I urge you to make it from scratch because it’s life changing. You can make the full batch and then keep it in the fridge, covered, up to 3 days!**
Slice two very large (or as large as you can find) zucchini into half-inch slices. Lay flat on a baking sheet or platter and season both sides with plenty of salt and pepper.
**Note: Here’s the thing, I love fried zucchini to death. It’s one of my favorite snacks/appetizers, but whenever I get it at a restaurant it’s mostly bland. You can fix this by seasoning the zucchini before frying. It makes a world of difference.**
Let’s set up a dredging station. In one bowl, whisk the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper. (Throw in a little hot sauce if you like a kick). In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and more salt and pepper. Then in a third dish, stir together the plain bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes. To dredge the zucchini, pass through the flour, then the eggs, and then the bread crumb mixture. Give it a pat on both sides to ensure the coating really sticks.
**Tip: Do you ever fry something that’s breaded and find that the breading falls off in the oil? To prevent this from happening, I like to dredge and then place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Then I let whatever I just dredged rest for about 10 minutes so that it air dries a bit and allows the coating to really stick. Placing it on wire rack allows the air to circulate on both sides.**
While the breaded zucchini rests, fill a cast iron skillet, about halfway up with canola oil and set over medium-high heat. Once hot, fry the zucchini in batches until golden brown on both sides, flipping over half way. Drain and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Continue frying the remaining zucchini.
**Tip: Whenever I fry anything at all, I always sprinkle with a bit of salt right out of the fryer. This is crucial because it seasons it perfectly. It’s that last touch that makes a big difference.**
Once all the zucchini have been fried, we’re ready to assemble the sliders. It’s a super easy recipe, right? I wrote this recipe in the book to go along with the Everything Slider Buns (also in the book), because I feel like the everything seasoning blend on top of the buns go so well with the ranch and the fried zucchini. It’s amazing. I have a larger yielding version of the recipe on the blog here. But any slider buns (store-bought or homemade) will do!
To assemble the sliders, split the buns in half, spread each half with the ranch, and then layer with lettuce, tomato, and a few slices of the fried zucchini. Place the top half of the bun on top and then skewer with a long toothpick to hold it all in place.
These sliders are best while the fried zucchini is still crispy and warm, but I have eaten these at room temperature and they’re still amazing. So what I’m trying to say is that they’re great as appetizers or snacks or parties because you don’t have to worry about them being hot. Room temp will be okay.
One of the great things about the book, I think at least, is that you don’t have to cook the recipes with sliders in mind. For instance, you now have a great recipe for ranch which you can use for all sorts of different things. Or you have a recipe for fried zucchini which you can serve all on it’s own. The same thing goes for many of the sliders. I have an orange chicken slider or fish and chips slider and if you don’t want to turn them into sliders, well now you have amazing recipes for orange chicken and fish and chips. It’s great!
Just in case you’re looking for even more slider inspiration you can search the site here and look through all of the past slider recipes I’ve shared. Or you can buy a copy of the book, or enter the giveaway below. Either way, I see many sliders in your future.
Don’t forget to enter below for a chance to win a copy of the book so that you too can make sliders all summer long! Good luck, I’m rooting for you. Yes, you. On another shameless note, Saveur Magazine is hosting their annual Food Blog Award nominations right now as we speak. If you have a few minutes to spare, head on over to their site, and nominate your favorite food blogs. If one of your favorite food blogs happens to be mine, and you enjoy the work I put out, I’d be ever so grateful if you nominated The Candid Appetite for either the “Most Inspired Weeknight Dinners” category or “Best Photography.” I’m like the Leo DiCaprio of the food blog awards, and I feel like this year is my year. Don’t let me be Leo anymore!
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup plain bread crumbs
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large zucchini, cut into ½-inch thick rounds
- Canola oil, for frying
- 12 Everything Slider Buns, or store-bought slider buns or dinner rolls
- Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)
- 3 medium roma tomatoes, sliced
- 6 green leaf lettuce leaves, cut in half
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Measure the flour into a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, toss together the panko, breadcrumbs, parmesan, parsley, red pepper, salt, and black pepper until well combined. In a third shallow dish, whisk together the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water.
- Dredge the zucchini slices first in the flour, followed by the egg, and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Allowing the dredged zucchini to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes before frying will make sure the coating sticks and doesn’t slide off while frying.
- To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container or jar with a tight fitting lid and chill for at least 1 hour. Dressing can be kept in fridge for up to 3 days.
- Fill a large frying pan with about 2 inches of oil and set over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F.
- Fry the zucchini in batches, a few at a time, until golden brown about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip over and continue to cook on the other side for another minute. Drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with a bit of salt while still hot. Keep warm in a preheated 250°F oven while you fry the remaining zucchini.
- To assemble the sliders, split the buns in half and spoon a bit of ranch onto each half. Top the bottom half of the buns with a slice of fried zucchini, tomato slice, a piece of lettuce, and a drizzle more of ranch. Replace the top bun on and skewer with a long toothpick to hold in place. Serve immediately.