One of the greatest things about writing a cookbook has been the welcome surprise of many new friends and the exciting process of working with new photographers. As of late, I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with one Jon Barry, a local Baton Rouge photographer, writer, and talented gastronome, who has been helping me get some exciting culinary shots for my first cookbook. What I love about Jon’s photography is the vibrancy and beauty of his images. They never fail to tell a story, introduce beautiful faces (and places), and when coupled with some of my cooking, make food look darn good.To give you an example, here’s one of the first images Jon ever took of me. Hands down, my favorite photo ever.
Photo by Jon Barry: portrait taken during the “golden minutes” right before sunset, Jon’s image captures the fleeting seconds in which everything glows in a shot that feels natural, lovely, and just plain perfect. Pictured behind me is the Baton Rouge skyline atop of Tsunami’s, a local sushi restaurant.
Since meeting, Jon and I have shared several glasses of wine and great meals and I cannot seem to find enough opportunities to feed him tester recipes for The Fresh Table. Recently, I took the opportunity to make Jon a dish called “BBQ Meatball Sliders.” Sliders, or really “tiny hamburgers,” are a juicy and flavorful way to start or finish any meal. With a combination of spicy meats, Parmesan, and good quality BBQ sauce, this dish just screams summer barbecues whether you live in Louisiana or not. Here are some of the shots Jon captured with his fancy camera and hungry stomach.
Photo by Jon Barry. Pictured: BBQ Meatball Sliders sit on top of beds of rich greens (pictured here: spinach and arugula) with freshly grated Parmesan and toasted good quality buns.
Photo by Jon Barry. Pictured: a beautiful simple shot of me with the sliders captured right before sunset.
Whether you’re craving a good burger or an easy recipe for any summer barbecue, try these simple meatball sliders for flavor that’s cookbook worthy.
BBQ Meatball Sliders
Can’t find spicy pork? Add 2 tablespoons Cayenne, homemade chili powder, or Louisiana hot sauce to the meatball mixture for a flavorful variation.
*1/2 pound ground beef
*1/2 pound ground spicy pork (substitute regular pork + 2 tablespoons Cayenne, chili powder, or Louisiana hot sauce)
*1/4 cup bread crumbs
*1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
*1 egg + 1 egg yolk
*1 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/4 cup parsley, chopped fine
*1/2 cup BBQ sauce of your choice (I prefer local BBQ sauces like Jack Miller’s, just so long as it’s spicy)
*1 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
To Dress Sliders:
*regular or whole grain rolls, halved and toasted
*arugula, or other leafy green
1.) In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, bread crumbs, parmesan, egg and egg yolk, salt, parsley, BBQ sauce, and cayenne to integrate fully. Form mixture into 3-inch meatballs (about 12).
2.) In an outdoor heated grill, place half of the meatballs over an open flame grilling until brown all over and cooked all the way through. Avoid the urge to flatten meatballs as you want them to keep their “ball” shape.
Photo by Jon Barry. Pictured: grilling sliders over an open flame gives them an outdoor flavor perfect for summer barbecues!
3.) Plate cooked meatballs and drain excess oil and brush with any leftover BBQ sauce. Serve on toasted rolls with provolone cheese, arugula, and spear with toothpicks and serve. Makes 12 sliders.
Photo by Jon Barry. Pictured: Me patiently dressing the sliders. As Jon says, “I guess one has to be good to one’s hands..never know when they are the main subject in a photo.” He’s right!
This recipe was re-published for my “Fresh Ideas” Column for Louisiana’s state newspaper, The Advocate, on Thursday, November 7th, 2012. You can read the reprint here.
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Written by: Helana Brigman