Battle of the Burgers recipe: Italian Caprese sliders

(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

“When I was growing up, my father was a true grill man, [and he] would probably not been caught making wimpy sliders. [But] the sausage adds a great spice and moistness, making them in the jelly roll pan makes it really simple and, when you finish with the fresh tomatoes, basil and olive oil/balsamic, it makes for the perfect bite.” --Susan Salerno, who writes the food blog Simply Cooking 101, from Henderson, Nev.

Italian Caprese sliders

Our recipes, your kitchen: If you try this or any other recipe from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen, we would like to know about it so we can showcase it on our food blog and occasionally in print. Upload pictures of the finished dish here.

Total time: 50 minutes

Servings: Makes 18 sliders

Note: From Susan Salerno of Henderson, Nev.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

3 cloves minced garlic, divided

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into ¼-inch slices

18 white dinner rolls

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 large Roma tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices

36 medium-large basil leaves, stemmed

1. Make the patties: In a large bowl, gently but thoroughly mix together the ground beef, Italian sausage, Italian seasoning, onion, bell pepper and 2 cloves minced garlic. Press the mixture into a jelly roll pan, using a rolling pin to make a flat, even layer. (Cover the meat with plastic wrap, if necessary, to keep it from sticking as it’s rolled.) Cut the meat into roughly 2-inch squares.

2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. Grill the burgers until cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. When the burgers are done, place a slice of mozzarella on each burger and tent with foil while preparing the buns.

3. Warm the rolls: Wrap the rolls in foil and place on the top rack of the grill, or place in a warm oven until warmed through.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and remaining minced clove garlic. This makes a scant one-half cup vinaigrette.

5. Assemble the sliders: Place a cheese-topped patty on the base of the bun, add a slice of tomato and 2 basil leaves. Drizzle each burger with 1 teaspoon of the vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Each slider: 267 calories; 16 grams protein; 16 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 15 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 49 mg cholesterol; 3 grams sugar; 313 mg sodium.