I know you probably need a recipe for cheese toasties like you need a punch in the mouth but think of this as more of an homage to the simple perfection of them than as a directive and perhaps it will be easier to swallow (see what I did there?! No?…Hmph). Made with pancarré, the thin, crustless Italian sandwich bread for making tramezzini, or with a more robust loaf, a toastie suffuses me with the feeling that all is right with the world. Oozing cheese will do that to a girl.
As kids we always made toasties in a toastie machine which seals the edges but I prefer to make them in a frypan now, it gives me a good excuse to slather yet more butter upon their appealingly blank little bellies (don’t want sticking, what what).
For me, the perfect toastie requires four elements, just like the universe (or are there five in the universe? I never can get that straight): bread, butter, cheese and red onion. Omit one and it’s strangely lacking. Particularly if you leave out, say, the bread.
Also, did you know Americans call them grilled cheese? Grilled cheese! As if there really weren’t any bread. I know this because both my dear and lovely siblings have girlfriends from the U.S. Maybe the etymology stems from the Atkins diet or something?
How do you do your toasties?
2 slices of thin white bread
Just enough cheese to cover the bread in one layer, preferably a good crumbly cheddar
Very thinly sliced red onion
Plenty of pepper and if it’s a mild cheese, plenty of salt
Ham, if you want to gild the lily
Heat a frypan over medium-low heat and assemble the sandwiches with the cheese and onion, pepper (and salt if using) within.
Butter the outside of the sandwiches generously.
Fry until golden on both sides.
Cut into 4 triangles (important).