A few months ago I took a copy of delicious magazine with me on holiday and read about a toastie competition they’d had between a few chefs. The thing that struck me was that not one of them used a toastie machine – instead they’d all used frying pans.
I immediately dismissed it as something I wouldn’t be able to do, but when Garry and I were wandering round a farmers’ market on Sunday and he announced he craved a cheese toastie, it reminded me of that article and I decided to give it a go. Turns out, when you make a toastie without a toastie maker it can go very, very well indeed.
This is nothing like the toasties I’ve had before. Before I’d cover it in butter and fill it with so much cheese it’d ooze out and I’m burn my tongue, but this had crispy bread and soft warm fillings and didn’t make me feel like I needed to lie on the sofa and cry afterwards. A win in anyone’s book.
Ingredients (for two)
- Four slices of crusty bread (I took four slices from the middle of a round farmhouse loaf)
- 1 red onion
- 100g of Red Leicester cheese
- Two small handfuls of peppery salad leaves (rocket would work well)
- Tomato chutney
So, how to make this toastie without a toastie machine. First, I sliced a red onion and fried them gently in butter (well, buttery Fry Light, but same difference) until they were soft, then I removed them from a pan and set them aside.
I put the same frying pan I’d fried the onions in on a medium heat and placed two of the slices of bread as close to the centre as I can. No oil, no butter, just bread. I toasted it for two minutes, then turned the heat down to low as I assembled my toastie. I took half of the cheese and divided it between the two slices of bread. I topped with a handful each of the salad leaves, the warm red onions, and a tablespoon of chutney spread down the centre of each of the toasties. I topped with the remaining cheese and finally the remaining pieces of bread, then turned the heat back up to medium. Gently press down on the top of the sandwiches with a spatula.
As soon as the cheese on the bottom was melting and gooey and the bottom of the toastie looked brown (lift it with a spatula to check the bottom) I carefully flipped them over. The colour of the bread on the bottom was GORGEOUS. Again, I pressed down with the spatula to squish everything together.
I then left it to cook for a few minutes longer, until the bottom side of the bread is golden and the cheese is all melted. Whilst doing this, you want to keep pressing the toasties together. Whilst the chefs had all used fancy shop bought contraptions and homemade bricks with handles, I just used a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Worked fine for me.
As soon as your cheese is melted, your toasties are ready.
Good, right? I can’t believe I got that colour without any oil or butter on the bread.
I’d like to try and do a food tutorial video (!!!) of how to do this in the future, and I’m going to experiment with lots of other fillings. Do you have a particular favourite?