The Toasted Sandwich Handbook, Part Two (Man v. Toastie – Four New Toasties In One Week)
Monday 3rd October: Jarlsberg and Potato Waffle. I love Jarlsberg. It is probably my favourite cheese. I had a think about what I could use with it to make a super-tasty toastie and decided that it might be interesting to see if it was possible to incorporate a potato waffle into such a sandwich. This recipe is a little more involved than most toastie recipies as it involves grilling the potato waffle before assembling the toastie. Once the waffles were done I cut slices of Jarlsberg and assembled two rather fat sandwiches. This was a slight problem as the toastie maker had to be persuaded quite forcefully to shut. But I was happy with what emerged after five minutes toasting – something I can only describe as being a bit like a cheese and potato pie, a kind of budget potato pie perhaps. I was satisfied with this toastie and will make it again. Thumbs up!
Tuesday 4th October: Spring Onion, Honey and Cheshire Cheese. Credit for this one must go to Rach who suggested we made toasties of the ingredients above in order to use up some spring onions we had left over. Apparently Cheshire was the best cheese to use with these ingredients – I don’t know why! It worked though so I have no complaints. There were meant to be pine nuts as well but they had disappeared from the cupboard. The honey was also Rach’s suggestion, though it may have been because I always want to put honey in savoury dishes. Anyway, this made it very sweet in a nice way. The spring onions gave it some crunch too. Thumbs up! Nb: It should be noted that as this was a teatime toastie, as opposed to a lunchtime toastie, I prepared a salad to go with it. The fact that I now serve salad with toasted sandwiches is the surest evidence I have so far that I am actually growing up.
Wednesday 5th October: Jarlsberg, Apple and Raisin. I had some Jarlsberg left from Monday and there were some apples and some raisins around. What could go wrong? I cut slices of Jarlsberg and slices of apple and then hid raisins in and around them. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t pleased with what came out. It was not that this was a bad toastie, it just didn’t really taste of much – it had no punch, nothing to make it stand out from the crowd (of toasties). This was not good enough.
Wednesday 5th October: Bacon, Peas and Wensleydale with Stem Ginger: Annoyed at myself for the casual ineptitude which blighted my lunchtime toastie, I decided to try and redeem myself at teatime. I needed a big ingredient to make this a good toastie and decided that (as is so often the case) bacon was the answer. Not only this, I then did some research. If I was going to come up with a new hit I needed to take this more seriously and so I reached for The Flavour Thesaurus and searched through the list of foods it suggested would complement bacon. Some were things I didn’t like, whilst others would not work in the context of a toastie. I settled on peas. I suppose I liked the idea that it might be a bit like ham and pea soup… with cheese.
I thought it might be good to get some soft cheese so that I would have something to stick the peas in (so they did not just roll away) but ended up coming away from the cheese aisle of the supermarket with some Wensleydale with bits of ginger in. How did that happen? I spent about five minutes picking up cheeses and putting them back as I changed my mind and then in one mad moment I had swooped on the aforementioned Wensleydale with ginger, and that was it.
Back in the kitchen I grilled the bacon and arranged slices of cheese and frozen peas, pressing the peas into the cheese to stop them rolling away (somewhat less successfully than if I had got a soft cheese). I lay the bacon on top and brought down the lid of the toastie maker. I was pleased with the results – the bacon was good, the ginger in the cheese gave it an interesting kick and I don’t think I have ever tasted toasted peas before, so that was nice. The spread of bacon and peas was somewhat inconsistent but at its best it did taste like a gingery ham and pea soup. Thumbs up!
Conclusion: It’s been a busy week and there have been some good discoveries as well as some disappointments. I would suggest that if you try only one of the above, go for the potato waffle and cheese toastie. Until next time, keep on toastie-ing!