Travel & Life Digest

Cheese Toastie with Salsa Verde

You must look up the soundtrack from the movie "Chef" on Spotify. I've been playing it on repeat ever since I watched the movie!
It's full of Cuban music and vibrant Jazz tones, the kind that makes you wiggle your bottom in the car and dance in front of the mirror at home, pretending to be at some beach-party in Miami. 

The other thing about this movie is that it will get you in a cooking fury; nothing fancy, just cheese toasties. Velvety, warm, gooey, melting cheese...and crunchy bread. Luxurious simplicity!  

Other than cheese and bread, there are two more things you need for a good toastie: a good Griddle and Salsa Verde.
I saw this simple Salsa Verde recipe last week, while fasting for Greek Easter and I just couldn't wait for Easter Sunday to come, so that I could try it! I found the recipe on Emiko Davis's blog that specialises on Tuscan cuisine. The title was "Salsa Verde to Put on Everything".  It's not an exaggeration, ever since I made it, I have used it on toasties, on Argentinian smashed potatoes instead of chimichuri, I even attempted to have a dollop in my mushroom soup but that's where I drew the line.

For the Salsa Verde:
2 anchovy fillets preserved in oil
2 garlic cloves
A bunch of flat-leaf Italian parsley
10 basil leaves
2 heaped tablespoons salted capers, rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
Start with making the Salsa Verde.
There are two ways of doing this: you can throw everything in a blender or use a pestle and mortar.
If the anchovies are not filleted, you need to run a knife all the way down the spine and open up the fish to take the bone out.
If you are using a blender, simply put all of the ingredients in and pulse a couple of times until everything is combined. Don't over-blend it, you need some texture.
If you are using pestle and mortar chop the anchovies in smaller pieces first.
Use the pestle to bruise the anchovy fillets in the mortar, with the olive oil, lemon and garlic.
Chop the parsley and basil leaves finely before adding them in the mortar. Use a stirring motion (rather than bashing) with the pestle and try to combine the ingredients while pushing everything on the walls of the mortar. 
Finally add the capers and again try to grind everything on the walls of the mortar rather than bash it together. It's nice to have small pieces of capers and crunchy parsley here and there, instead of a smooth paste.

For the Toastie:

2 pieces of sturdy, structured bread (you can use multi-seed bread or sourdough, I don't particularly like white breads for this)
Room-temperature butter
2 teaspoons of Salsa Verde
Mature Cheddar (a slice or about a handful, grated)
Wensleydale Cheese (two thin slices or a handful, grated)
1 tsp Mayonnaise
Assemble the Toastie:
Heat up the griddle.  
Butter one side of each piece of bread. Place both pieces, butter-side down, on the hot griddle for about 1 minute.
Spread the Salsa Verde on the top side of each bread slice, while it's on the griddle.
Add both kinds of cheese onto one of the slices. 
Use the other slice to cover the cheese and spread a very thin layer of mayonnaise on the top of the bread, where you used butter before. 
Flip the toastie so that the side with mayonnaise hits the griddle. This is a trick to make the toastie super-crunchy. Press down slightly and cook until the side on the griddle is golden brown.
Spread some mayonnaise on the other side and flip the toasty for the last time.  
Transfer onto a chopping board and cut down the middle. Demolish immediately!

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