I’ll be honest; I bought the ingredients for these sliders to serve at a Super Bowl Party and then changed course and decided against a bunch of appetizers and finger foods and served this Steak Salad with Pesto, Mashed Potatoes and Gorgonzola Cheese. While I would do the same thing again in a heartbeat the fact remained that I had the ingredients and was still craving these yummy bites so when I had a couple of friends over to just gab, the girls got football food but of course by then it was ‘Girls Nite Out’ food. While variations of these ‘Ham and Cheese Party Sandwiches’ have been around forever and I’ve made them before with a more standard recipe; for this occasion I was dying to pump them up a notch and bring them into this century as Bacon, Ham and Swiss Cheese Sliders.
The basics remain the same but I did make some changes. First? Bacon. Yes, Bacon and Ham both. I think deli ham is a bit ‘meh’ but combined with some salty bacon, the two combine to make the perfect pork. Then in what is often standard practice in my kitchen, I replaced yellow mustard with some Dijon whole grain mustard. I LOVE mustard and with an entire shelf devoted to it I seldom reach for the plain yellow stuff and whole grain mustard is my absolute favorite. I could see these with a touch of horseradish mustard too; maybe next time. Brown sugar too? Yep…seems to help a country ham when baking it in the oven so why not in a sauce for this mini ham sandwich? Was that a good call? Oh my yes. These were absolutely fantastic; they disappeared and made me realize that I need to count on four per person next time, not a paltry two!
Do you know what I went back and forth over more than anything? Poppy seeds. With whole grain mustard seeds in the mix do I even need them? Of course I didn’t but for some reason, the idea of not seeing poppy seeds on the finished goods seemed just wrong so we had both and not one person uttered, ‘Barb…you have both poppy and mustard seeds on this slider; what gives?’ Go for both or not; I’m not sure how much flavor poppy seeds really bring to the mix; they’re more a nostalgia factor.
I know it’s a bit early to suggest but you know what I think these would be great for? An Easter Brunch. I seldom make an entire ham for Easter dinner; preferring something lighter for our meal so I could see these as an appetizer sure but in my home? Serve them with a salad and call it a meal!
- 12 packaged Dinner Rolls (I use King's Hawaiian rolls)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 Tablespoon minced onion
- 2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoon whole grain Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 12 pieces thin sliced deli ham
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and cut into quarters (I use thick cut bacon; if using regular bacon you might want to do a bit more)
- 6 slices Swiss cheese; cut into quarters (2 slices per roll)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. I like to form a container of sorts with the foil; folding it up so that it surrounds the rolls and contains any of the sauce that might drip.
- Split rolls in half; I use a large bread knife and since I use the King's Hawaiian Rolls, I simply slice the entire top as one piece and replace it after topping the bottom halves with all of the other components.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan; add the onion and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the onion has softened. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and poppy seeds. Drizzle 1/4 of the butter mixture over the bottom section of rolls. Top bottom halves with ham; 2 pieces of bacon and Swiss cheese and place the tops back on the rolls. If you are using separated rolls, place them very close together on backing sheet surrounded by foil.
- Pour reminder of butter mixture over rolls; let sit for 10 minutes to allow the mixture to soak in a bit. Cover the rolls with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Uncover and cook for 2-4 additional minutes until tops are slightly brown and crispy. Serve warm.