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