Sliders are an all time favorite of mine. Even as a Californian, I am one of those people who would take White Castle slider over an In-N-Out Burger any day of the week (my fiancé and I debate over this constantly). For me, it’s all about the steamed onion in a slider. Yes, that is right, a real slider is cooked on a bed of steamed onions absorbing all that flavor.
So how can we take that slider concept and swap out our hamburger for some high class ham? We’re going to experiment with that today in our oven baked ham and cheese slider recipe.
What is a Ham and Cheese Slider?
Sliders today are sold as small sandwiches and hamburgers. To me, a real slider may be small in size but it must be steamed with onion to be a slider. It doesn’t matter the protein, what matters to me is the preparation.
So, a ham and cheese slider will include ham, cheese, and grilled onions on top of a delicious bread roll.
Our Approach to Ham and Cheese Sliders
We are going to steam as much of our ham and cheese sliders on onion as we can. To do that we’re going to lay a bed of onions, start sweating them, and then “tent in” our bread, meat, and cheese.
If you’re skeptical about the onion on the slider, stick with me here! The onion adds so much additional flavor and depth to the slider, and it’s worth trying at least once.
What Makes a Good Ham and Cheese Slider?
There are 2 main things that make good cheese and ham sliders:
- Cooking it on the steamed onions: You have to have the steamed onions to be a slider
- Loads of flavor: Small size portions should always be balanced with big time flavor
How to Get Great Flavors in the Sliders
We need big flavor, and that means no lunch meat here. We are recommending the use of aged cured hams. These hams are big on flavor and pack a huge punch per pound of meat.
We’re talking prosciutto di parma, prosciutto di san daniele, jamon iberico, jamon serrano, speck, or good ol’ American country ham. Most of those you will be able to find in your deli but you will need to ask for them to cut it (try to avoid the pre-packed stuff if you can).
While almost all of these hams you can ask for by name there is one that is unfortunately falling to the wayside and that is American country hams.
Country hams are basically American prosciutto. Contrast this with the ham you think of in a sandwich or at the dinner table which used to be known as a “city” ham (now just the default ham). If you are lucky enough to have access to American Country Ham, I highly recommend it!
The flavor in our oven-baked ham and cheese sliders is primarily coming from two places:
- The steamed onions: As they sweat off moisture, it will get picked up in the bread like a sponge.
- The ham: While cured hams are low in moisture, they are huge on flavor. The flavor of those hams is all heavily soluble in fat. So when the meat gets warm and touches that cheese we get so much flavor.
What Pairs with Ham and Cheese Sliders?
Drinks-wise, I’d recommend a lighter beer like wheat or pilsner. While these do pack quite a bit of flavor (especially if you sprung for the special ham), they are not burgers and you don’t want to overpower them with a dark beer.
To make these ham and cheese sliders all you will need is a baking dish, cutting board, a knife, and a measuring spoon.
- 1/2 onion
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 loaf brioche (alternative you can use 4 hawaiian or dinner rolls)
- 1 cup melting cheese (jack cheeses are a great starting place)
- 1/2 pound Prosciutto or Serrano Ham (double this amount if you are using normal ham)
- Preheat oven 350°F
- Dice onion and place in thin layer of baking dish with olive oil and salt and water
- Separate top and bottom of load and butter both sides
- Add 1/2 cheese to bottom half
- Add ham on top of the cheese
- Add reminder of cheese on top of the ham
- Bake onions 20 minutes
- Add onions on top of cheese
- Add top of the bread back to baking dish
- Top with foil
- Bake for 10 minutes
- Remove, Cut, Serve