Quinoa Sliders with Green Goddess Aioli

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we are in the midst of springtime, are we not? I only ask this because generally, during this time of year in this neck of the woods we are fortunate enough to revel in mild and pleasant climate. Yet here I sit, schvitzing like potato salad at a picnic in this sweltering 90 degree heat that decided to show up to the party about 2 months early. It's a bit discombobulating, really...I mean, peaches at the market? Already? Did I nap straight through May and June and suddenly wake up in July?

Not that I mind waking up to gorgeous, clear, sunny skies terribly, but it's not the most comfortable thing in the world when you spend every day slaving over a hot stove for a living. But alas, what can one do?

Stick one's head in the freezer every 15 minutes, that's what.

I'll tell you one thing: this sizzling, stifling, blistering weather has got summer flavors on my radar more than ever. We've already started the grilling fest at home, and the other day I got all giddy over a lovely salmon with white peach and basil chutney that I made for some clients.

But what I'm really excited about are these crispy, golden quinoa sliders, paired with a delightfully herbaceous green goddess aioli (not totally from scratch though because it is entirely too hot for all that). Vegetarian friendly, but meat lover approved, they're the perfect crowd pleaser to kick off the first big BBQ of the season- Memorial Day appetizer anyone?

makes about 6 sliders
for the sliders:
1/2  cup coarsely grated zucchini
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. breadcrumbs, preferably homemade
2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
6 mini slider buns
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Roma tomato, thinly sliced
Butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and torn

for the green goddess aioli:
3 tbsp. assorted fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, dill and chives, finely chopped
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise)
1 tsp. anchovy paste (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Squeeze the liquid from the grated zucchini by wringing it out in a paper towel or cheesecloth. Combine zucchini and beaten egg in a meduim sized bowl. Add quinoa, breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic, dill, salt and pepper and stir until just combined. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
2. While mixture is chilling, make the aioli: combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Using a 1/4 measuring cup as a mold, form round patties by pressing firmly in between the palms of your hands. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and when oil is hot, add the patties and cook until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, flip the patties and repeat.
4. To assemble the sliders, split and toast the brioche buns, if desired. Layer one slider patty per bun with cucumber, tomato, lettuce and a dollop of green goddess aioli.

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