The de­li­cious fail-safe clas­sic can be cooked in mul­ti­ple ways, writes

The Press - Zest - - Eating In -

Iam not sure there is such a thing as bad cheese on toast. It mat­ters not whether it is made with white bread and stale ched­dar or is some­thing you take more se­ri­ously, match­ing the right bread with the right cheese and treat­ing it as a work of art.

Any cheese that is mild and milky gets my vote, and although I make my cheese on toast with any bread that hap­pens to be around, a crusty white or sour­dough loaf seems to be best. I have knocked up a ver­sion with thick slices of moz­zarella on a wedge of cia­batta, then trick­led over a blended sauce of basil, pars­ley, olive oil and capers. My need for a slightly dif­fer­ent ver­sion took me to cheese and pancetta on a slice cut from a baguette. The ba­con and cheese mar­ried just as well as they al­ways do, but on this oc­ca­sion I made a sort of savoury spread for the bread, soft­en­ing very finely chopped onions with some hashed pancetta and pars­ley, then tuck­ing it un­der and over slices of mild, soft goat’s cheese. The el­e­ments couldn’t re­ally fail, and it was less trou­ble than a tra­di­tional rarebit but had a con­tem­po­rary feel.

Goat’s cheese and pancetta toasts

1 Tbsp but­ter 2 small sage leaves 2-3 sprigs pars­ley leaves Small hand­ful pea shoots


4 slices baguette or sour­dough stick 3 thin rash­ers pancetta or finely sliced ba­con 30g goat’s cheese For the spread: 1 small onion 40g pancetta or finely sliced ba­con To make the spread, peel the onion and dice it finely, then finely chop the pancetta. Warm the but­ter in a shal­low pan and add the onion and the pancetta, then crum­ble or finely tear the sage leaves and stir them in. Grind in a lit­tle black pep­per and cook over a low heat for seven or eight min­utes un­til the onion is pale gold, soft and sweet, and the fat on the pancetta is golden brown. While the onion is cook­ing, finely chop the pars­ley and stir in. Toast the bread lightly on both sides. Grill or fry the rash­ers of pancetta for a minute or so un­til 100g broad beans, pod­ded weight Enough moz­zarella to pro­vide Pod the beans and cook them in deep, lightly salted boil­ing water for six or seven min­utes un­til ten­der, then drain in a colan­der. If they are very small and sweet, leave them as they are, but if they are larger than a fin­ger­nail, pop the cooked beans from their skins. Peel the gar­lic, re­move the leaves from the pars­ley, roughly chop the dill fronds and the chives, and mix with the pars­ley and gar­lic. Process or blend with olive oil un­til you have a rough sauce. If you have any chive flow­ers, mix them in as well. Toast the bread lightly on both sides. Slice the moz­zarella thickly and place on the slices of toasted bread. Toast lightly un­til the moz­zarella be­comes al­most liq­uid. Add some of the dress­ing and the broad beans, let­ting any ex­tras fall on to the plate. Eat while the toast is warm.

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