Charles Ealy, the movie writer, former colleague and all-around Southern charmer, hosted a fun gathering last night for the features staff at the Statesman, and as we mingled, snacking and catching up on non-work matters, every single person mentioned how good the sandwiches were.
They looked like regular ol' ham and cheese slidiers, but one bite in, I knew what my coworkers meant. The Hawaiian sweet rolls and the honey ham added the sweetness, and the cheese and bread took care of the savoriness. It wasn't until I ran into Charles in the kitchen that he spilled the beans: They were baked in butter. Like, a lot of butter.
"How much butter, Charles?" "A stick for every 12 rolls," he said. That's double the amount called for in the original recipe from King's Hawaiian, but Ealy has hosted enough get-togethers to know that an extra stick of butter takes them into another stratum. He didn't use the poppy seeds called for in the original recipe, but instead used dried onions for an extra saltiness on top. To keep them warm, he stored trays of them in a barely warm oven to rotate onto the table as we ate plates full of these sandwiches.
Also in the kitchen were Crock Pots filled with meatballs (from frozen) in his special sauce made with soy sauce and ketchup. They were good, too, but the sliders were a knockout. Use as much or as little butter as you like, and if you want a slider with turkey and cranberry sauce, check out this one we ran right after Thanksgiving.
Hawaiian Ham and Swiss Slider
There's little question that these savory sweet sliders will be the hit of any holiday party. They are soaked in butter, but aren't greasy. You can serve them warm or at room temperature. You can leave the ham out or use another deli meat. You can even cut back on the butter, but in truth, Charles Ealy, who introduced me to this internet hit, uses a stick of butter for each 12-count package of King's Hawaiian rolls.
— Addie Broyles
2 packages (12 count) sweet dinner rolls
24 slices of thinly sliced honey ham
1/3 cup mayonnaise
6 slices of Swiss cheese, cut into fourths
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use a large serrated knife to cut the rolls in half. Spread the mayo onto one side of the rolls. Place a slice or two of ham and slice of Swiss cheese in roll. Place the other half of the roll on top and place on a baking dish. Bunch them closely together so they are slightly touching.
In a medium bowl, whisk together poppy seeds, dijon mustard, melted butter, onion powder and Worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce over the rolls, just covering the tops. Cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes or up to overnight. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for additional 2 minutes until tops are slightly browned and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 12.
— Adapted from a recipe by Christy Denney for King's Hawaiian