There are some British foods which ooze comfort at the mere mention of their name, and none more so than the cheese toastie. Alongside a bacon butty (bacon sandwich) the toastie is the one that makes everyone drool (unless of course, you don't like cheese).
The popularity of the toastie comes from the ease and speed of making one - this has to be one of the simplest recipes ever - and the creativity of an endless choice of bread, cheeses and assorted fillings.
There are toastie machines or toasted sandwich makers, but honestly, there is no need to go to the expense of buying one of these. All that is needed is a nonstick frying, or a griddle pan if you want to the ridge pattern on the bread. This will not alter the taste but certainly looks pretty.
This recipe is for simple cheese toasties, but take a look at the alternatives below for more inspiration!
- 4 slices bread (good quality)
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 4 tablespoons Cheddar cheese
- Salt (to taste)
- Little freshly ground black pepper
- Begin with buttering one side of each slice of bread. Use a good quality bread as this will hold together better when cooking and creates a stronger case for the melted cheese.
- Grate the Cheddar cheese using a large hole grater - if you use a small hole, the cheese will melt too quickly before the bread has toasted. Divide the cheese between two slices of bread, placing it on the unbuttered side.
- Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Cover with the second slice of bread, unbuttered side down.
- Heat your griddle or frying pan to hot, but not smoking. Using a flat spatula or fish slice, lay the two sandwiches into the hot pan (they should sizzle a little as they hit the pan, if not the pan is not hot enough). Gently press the sandwich with the spatula, do not worry if the cheese leaks a little. Cook for a few minutes on one side pressing from time to time, then flip it over and repeat on the other side.
- Remove from the pan once the cheese is starting to melt and the bread turning a golden brown.
- Cut diagonally into two and serve immediately piping hot.
Notes on Making a Classic British Cheese Toastie:
The Cheese: Vary the cheese, but keep it British. Use only strong, semi-hard or crumbly cheese like Cheddar, Wensleydale, Red Leicester or Cheshire. Soft cheeses can be used, but handle carefully as it will melt quickly. Blue cheeses also work well, but do make sure it is mature and semi-hard.
The Bread: As already mentioned, use a good quality white, wholegrain or granary bread. Thinly sliced sourdough also works very well!
Fillings: These are endless, but use the classic cheese recipe and add as follows:
- Ham - use a slice of thick cut ham on each sandwich and cook as above.
- Strips of cooked bacon.
- Thinly sliced mushrooms, onions or tomatoes (or be decadent and try all three).
- A thick smear of chutney or a spicy relish on the unbuttered side.
- Thinly sliced pickled onions sprinkled over the cheese.