Ham and cheese is a classic flavor combination that most start eating from a young age. The only difference is that as you get older, the ham and the cheese usually become better in quality! Here is a Basque version using the ham and cheese from the region. If you can't get your hands on these particular ingredients, any other ham and cheese will probably do!
Recipe courtesy of Sarah Sharratt
Show: UpRooted
Ham and Cheese Bites
50 min
30 min
12 servings
50 min
30 min
12 servings


Salsa Brava:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon piment d'espelette or cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar 
  • One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes 
  • Salt
Ham and Cheese Bites:
  • 1 fresh baguette
  • 6 thin slices Basque ham, such as Jambon de Bayonne or Kintoa ham, halved 
  • 12 slices Basque hard cheese, such as ossau-iraty or any hard sheep's-milk cheese) 
  • 12 good-quality black olives, pitted 


Special equipment: toothpicks

For the salsa brava: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the piment d'espelette and fry for another minute. Add the sugar, vinegar, canned tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and the flavors have had a chance to meld, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup water. Carefully puree the mixture until completely smooth, using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. If the sauce is too thick, add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (Makes about 2 cups.)

For the ham and cheese bites: Cut the baguette on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices. Slather each slice with some salsa brava and top with a piece of ham, a slice of cheese and an olive. Insert a toothpick to hold everything in place.

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