The first time I heard my dad talk about how he had the best welsh rarebit at a little restaurant near his flat, I had no idea what rarebit was. In fact, somehow I got it in my head that welsh rarebit was some kind of dish having to do with really rare bits of rabbit. In reality it is none of rare, full of bits or made of rabbit. In fact, it is slices of toast that have a beautiful cheese sauce cooked into the top. Now you may be thinking, what? Just give me a can of cheez whiz and I’ll show you cheese on toast. But wait naysayers. It’s much more than that. There’s beer involved. Keep reading to experience today’s british food revolution!
4 thick slices good bread
200 g good cheddar cheese (about one mounded cereal bowl, see below)
2 tsp flour
1 tsp ground mustard
4 tbsp beer (plus more for drinking)
25 g butter (approx 2 tbsp)
Start out by shredding the cheese. In my experience, I sometimes experience taste boredom when I just use one kind of cheese in things like this (read: grilled cheese), so I picked up two kinds of cheddar to give it some more depth, but that’s your call. It’ll still be tasty with just one.
If you think weighing food is for wusses,
you need about this much cheese —->
Combine the cheese, flour, butter, mustard and beer in a pot and melt together over med-low heat, stirring occasionally. Yes, it will end up looking like cheez whiz.
While there is meltiness going on, toast one side of the bread. How do you do that? Use your boiler, but keep a close eye on the bread because it will go from very white to very black very quickly.
When your bread is toasty and your sauce is all meltey and combined, season the sauce with pepper (and salt, if desired). Flip the toasts over so the untoasted side is up. Spoon or pour the cheese sauce over the slices and return to the broiler again. Cook the slices until they have brown spots and are hot and bubbly.
Rarebit and mustard go together exceedingly well, so I like to have this as part of a light supper. I serve the rarebit alongside a salad with a strong mustard dressing (mustard, olive oil, cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar). If the dressing happens to run into the rarebit a tad…I suppose I’ll just have to live with that.
Adapted from the National Trust Complete Traditional Recipe Book by Sarah Edington