You will never have had a ham and cheese toastie like this, I guarantee it. It’s a cross between Welsh rarebit and a Croque Monsieur. A Croque Rarebit, if you will.
Its merits are multitude: brilliant for leftovers (I used leftover Christmas ham and dired out Cheddar, as well as breadcrumbs made with stale bread); enthusiastically received by both adults and children it’s so satisfying, so umami, so more-ish, you could have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner – or , sod the waistline, have them for three. Just add a bit of rocket on the side for virtuous effect.
This recipe comes from Tom Kerridge’s amazing ‘Best Ever Dishes’ cookbook and makes enough for an army. However, I don’t live with an army – just my wife and three kids – but, fortunately, the cheese and ham mixture is also perfect for freezing.
Breakfast will never be the same again.
700g strong Cheddar cheese
30g plain flour
1 tbsp mustard (Tom recommends English, but I only had Dijon)
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Good splash of Worcestershire sauce
2 egg yolks
300g ham, diced
6 slices white bread (it has to be white!!)
1. Put the Cheddar into a saucepan or non-stick frying pan with the mil and heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon to melt the cheese.
2. When it’s melted, stir in the breadcrumbs, flour and mustard and cook for a few minutes, stirring.
3. Season with salt, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
4. Remove from the heat, tip into a food processor and blend.
5. Add the eggs and egg yolks and blend again until smooth.
6. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, fold in the diced ham and mix thoroughly. It will be a VERY thick paste.
7. Under a hot grill, toast the bread on both sides, then spread it with a layer of cheese and ham mixture so that the bread is completely covered. Return to the grill and cook until the mixture is bubbling and golden brown. Serve straight away.
• If you do have leftovers, place it on a large piece of baking parchment , cover with a second piece of baking parchment and roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. When frozen, wrap in clingfilm then return to the freezer until needed. You may want to cut it into portions that fit more easily in your freezer. Too cook from frozen, simply cut a piece of mixture to fit your bread and grill.