Tuesday, May 4, 2010
OK, it’s not Welsh rabbit, it’s Welsh rarebit, but it is still a delightful lunch or dinner treat. Besides, this name is much more romantic than an open-face grilled cheese sandwich. This is a dish that seems to have been pretty much relegated to old, forgotten cookbooks … but it is well worth resurrecting. To serve two people follow these simple steps:
- First open a bottle of good beer, I prefer a hoppy (excuse the pun) ale, and pour about half of it into the top of a double boiler along with a large dollop of butter. Drink the rest of the beer. Maybe another one too.
- Fry or bake four to six rashers (an old-fashioned name for "slices", look it up) of good bacon.
- Place two to four pieces of good rustic bread (such as a 7-grain, seeded rye, or ciabatta) in the toaster set on medium dark. (Toast isn’t toast unless it is at least medium dark. Otherwise it is just warm bread.)
- Grate about a cup (or slightly more) of good-quality sharp cheddar cheese (Cabot’s or better).
- Heat up the beer or ale until simmering. Add the cheese in stages.
- Stir well. When fully melted add about five squirts of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 Tsp. dry mustard, and pinches of salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir again.
- Butter the toast points on two plates and pour the Welsh rarebit over them.
- Put under a broiler if so inclined until somewhat browned. But make sure the plate(s) are ovenproof. Put the bacon rashers on top of the cheese.
- Open another few beers to serve with this dish.
- Also, I suggest a salad accompaniment made with frisee and cross-cut Belgian endive. To make the dressing for this salad, place a good pinch of Kosher salt in the bottom of a salad bowl. Add two slivered garlic cloves. Mash with a fork until it becomes a paste. Add a few grinds of black pepper, about a scant tablespoon of Dijon mustard and the juice of half a lemon and maybe a squirt of red-wine vinegar. Mix well with a fork while drizzling in about three tablespoons of good virgin olive oil. Then add the greens and toss.
Watch out since, after all this beer and greens, you are not tempted to start hopping around.