Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Little sandwiches have big taste

One of my favorite party foods is little ham sandwiches with poppy seeds on top. They’ve been a favorite on buffet lines for years.

A delicious spread is added to the cut rolls before layering ham and cheese and warming in the oven. I always take one or two when I’m at parties.

I was thinking of those sandwiches when I first saw recipes for funeral sandwiches (because they are good to take to families who are grieving) or ham and cheese sliders.

For these sandwiches, ham and Swiss cheese are layered on party rolls and placed in a baking pan. Then a delicious glaze, with a base of melted butter and mustard, is poured or brushed on the sandwiches before baking. It’s the same basic idea of the poppy seed ham sandwiches, but instead of using the spread inside the sandwiches, it goes on top.

I read many recipes for the sliders before trying them myself. I think every recipe I read called for 1 to 2 sticks of butter. If you’ve read my column long, you know there’s no way I’m putting that much butter on sandwiches! I tried it with just 2 tablespoons, but that wasn’t enough, so I’ve settled on 4 tablespoons, which is half a stick.

I played around with other ingredients as well and decided to omit the minced onion or onion powder and to use Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. I also opted to use Dijon mustard rather than yellow mustard.

I didn’t have poppy seeds and didn’t want to buy them, so my sandwiches went without.

Most recipes I saw suggested King’s Hawaiian rolls for the bread. (In fact, King’s has its own version of the sandwiches on its website.) But I used a favorite brand of party rolls instead. In reading up on these sandwiches, I saw one person had cut hot dog rolls in thirds and used them to make the sandwiches.

My husband and I loved these little sandwiches. We liked the slightly crunchy glaze on top, and I especially like the sweetness from the brown sugar. The sandwiches are also very good warmed up slowly in the toaster oven the next day, making workday lunches so easy.

Apparently this recipe can be assembled in advance (glaze included) and refrigerated, then baked later in the day or the next day. Both times I made the sandwiches, I baked them as soon as they were assembled. But if I were to serve these sandwiches at a party, I would make them in advance.

I really want to try a variation of this recipe and use deli roast beef and cheddar.

Glazed Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 16-oz. bag party rolls (20 per package)
  • 1/2 pound deli ham, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and mustard until thoroughly combined.

Slice rolls and divide ham and cheese between the rolls, cutting meat and cheese to fit rolls. Place rolls on baking pan with sides. (You can assemble the rolls individually, or slice all rolls at one time, making one large top and one large bottom.)

Pour or brush glaze on top of rolls. I used a pastry brush and brushed the glaze not only on top of the rolls but also on the sides.

Bake for 15 minutes, uncovered, or until cheese melts and rolls brown on top. Keep a close watch so they don’t burn.

Note: This is how I made them. You can use yellow mustard, if you like, and different meats and cheeses.


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