Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ham and Swiss Sliders

I have a love hate relationship with sports.  You would too if your home town teams built you up and broke you down year after year.  So is the life of a Chicago sports fan.  All hail to the great Ditka, the last person who made everyone in this city hope and dream.  If he didn't do it, the Super Bowl Shuffle did.  To this day I remember the homecoming parade down Michigan Avenue for the Bears when they won in 1985.  I remember walking around my grade school surrounded by kids wearing Sweetness sweat bands and McMahon style sunglasses.          

Despite the sorry state of Chicago sports these days, I will still watch the Super Bowl.  I am not particularly interested in the action on the field, if you want to call it that.  I mean five seconds, time out, huddle, time out, play seven seconds, flag on the field, concussion.  I have never seen a sport that spends half the time in time out.  It's like my kid when he was four.  

I watch the big game for three reasons: the food, the commercials, and the half time show.  For the food, if you are going to or having a party, you have to make these sandwiches.  Salty, sweet and a ton of buttery, onion, garlic flavor.  It's ham and swiss on steroids.  Pair with beer, because anything else would be uncivilized.  Here are some pointers.  A few more tips if you like the craft brew variety. 


Adapted from Cook's Country Eats Local 
Note:  These sandwiches age well.  Eat them after a couple days in the fridge and the flavor is even better.  Reheat in the oven at about 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes uncovered or wrap the sandwiches individually in tin foil.  Or you can just make them ahead and heat them according to the directions in the recipe below.


12 square soft potato or Hawaiian roles
1/4 cup yellow mustard
12 thin slices Black Forest ham (about 1/2 pound)
12 thin slices Swiss cheese (about 1/2 pound)
pepper (optional)
4 tablespoons butter (I used Kerrygold)
2 tablespoons finely chopped Spanish onion
1 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder


1.  Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350 degrees.  Slice rolls in half horizontally.  Spread a thin layer of mustard evenly on cut side of roll tops and bottoms.  Arrange roll bottoms, cut side up and side by side, in 13 x 9 inch baking dish.  Fold ham slices in half, then fold again in half and place on roll bottom.  Repeat with the cheese and place over the ham on roll bottoms.  Season with a touch of pepper if desired.  If you have picky eaters, you might want to leave the pepper off.  Cap all with the roll tops.
2.  Combine butter, onion, and poppy seeds in a heat proof bowl.  Microwave until butter is melted and onion is softened, about 1 minute.  Mix in Worcestershire, garlic powder, and 2 tablespoons yellow mustard into butter mixture until combined.  Generously spoon tops of sandwiches with butter mixture so it coats the top and runs down the sides of the sandwiches.
3.  Cover dish with aluminum foil and let sit for 10 minutes to allow sandwiches to absorb sauce.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and continue to bake until cheese is melted around the edges and tops are slightly firm, 7 to 9 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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