Toasted Sandwiches – Part II
by The Editor
Following our taste of what was the most delicious and indulgent toasted sandwich we had ever laid tastebuds on, The Canberran made good on the promise to attempt Heston Blumenthal’s ‘Ultimate Cheese Toastie’ from the new cookbook At Home.
The key ingredients for this outrageous snack include comte and gruyere cheese, an onion compote with smoked bacon, wine lemon juice (!) and a square kitchen sponge. This was certainly going to interesting. Whether it would be delicious was a question that remained to be answered.
The ingredients for the toastie were acquired from Belconnen Markets. Deli Cravings supplied the two cheeses. The lemon was from Ziggy’s. The wine? Retrieved from the back of the fridge – a bottle of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc that had survived due to the fact it is perfect for cooking (and other more tempting candidates had been consumed before it).
From Deli Cravings we bought a few slices of Schulz Bacon and well as some triple smoked ham. At home a loaf of multigrain bread with a French crust was baking away. With our ingredients it was time to head back to the kitchen and start compile our epic snack.
The very first step involved the two cheeses, the wine and the lemon. Once the cheeses are grated and melted down, the wine and lemon juice is whisked through the mix. Poured into a square container lined with plastic film, it quickly sets into a firm block after a couple of hours in the fridge.
The compote is easy enough; the onions are thinly sliced and caramelised, with the bacon chopped into lardons. And heated through the onion.
The secret ingredient is a kitchen sponge – the yellow and green kind. Simply cut the green scourer off a new sponge, trim down to a square about 2cm smaller than a slice of bread and you’ve got the perfect mechanism to toast your bread without overcooking the filling. Butter the outside of your bread and place one slice face down in the sandwich press or jaffle maker. Put the sponge on the bread, cover with the second slice (buttered slice up) and lower the cover. After a few minutes your bread should be have toasted, and be set in a shape ready for filling.
Having removed the toast from the sandwich iron, pry the halves apart and remove the sponge. On the bottom piece of toast, place a thin layer of cheese topped with the onion compote. Cover these with the ham, replace the top layer of bread and return to the sandwich press for a couple of minutes. Have a sneaky look inside to see if the cheese mixture has melted and, if so, your snack is absolutely ready to eat.
There you have it – one of the most delicious snacks you’re ever likely to drag from a jaffle iron (even if our photo doesn’t quite do it justice.
BE WARNED! The cheese takes on a stringiness that makes mozzarella look tough. The first time we made this delight, an emergency trip to the laundry had to be made as melted cheese congealed in our laps. Lean over the table or keep a plate under your chin – you’ll end up scooping up blobs of cheese with your fingers. It’s a sensual affair!
So, what did it cost? We worked on a half measure, which made about eight sandwiches. Total cost was $25 which, at around $4.15 per serve, is pretty good value compared to cafe prices. Some people ate one and a half servings, but no-one felt the need to eat two. The best news is the compote and cheese easily keep for a week, and putting everything together the second time around takes a matter of minutes.