By Emily Malloy
Consuming an aromatic and hearty cheese drizzled over a toasted slice of robust bread is an unrivaled experience. I will never forget the moment I first had Welsh Rarebit. It was decadent, filled with complex notes of flavors, yet it was so simple: cheese on top of bread.
A fantastic English Pub lies at the end of a narrow, winding country road a few miles from my childhood home. It was at this little gastropub outpost surrounded by endless views of horse farms that I first encountered this rich, delectable dish.
Most commonly, it is served as a side dish or appetizer. Simple pub fare, as it were. Oh, but it is so much more. Because of its heartiness, we serve this rich dish as a main dish accompanied by several vegetable side dishes.
Welsh Rarebit is most often served over a hearty bread, most commonly rye. It could be eaten with any kind of bread: sourdough, brioche, et cetera, so long as it has been toasted. Our preference for a full-bodied dark bread like Brown Bread, also referred to as Irish Brown Bread (not to be confused with its sweeter cousin: Irish Soda Bread, however). The bitterness of the loaf pairs wonderfully with the sharpness of the Welsh Rarebit.
Yields: 8-10 servings
Time: 15-30 minutes
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 large egg, beaten
8 ounces lager beer
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Dash (or two or three!) of hot sauce / chili pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Once it's melted, whisk in the flour briskly for two minutes until a paste forms. Add the mustard and Worcestershire sauce, whisking well to combine.
2. Whisk in salt and pepper (beginning with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, but you can add more to preference at the end). Add the beer, whisking until well combined. Pour in the heavy cream.
3. Temper the egg. In a small bowl, beat the egg. Using a tablespoon, scoop up the hot cream mixture. Introduce the hot mixture to the egg slowly, while vigorously whisking the egg with a fork to ensure the temperature slowly increases without the egg scrambling. Once the egg has been tempered, slowly pour it into the cream mixture on the stove, making sure to vigorously whisk it in.
4. Add the cheese, stirring until it is completely melted. Stir in a few dashes of hot sauce (no worries, it doesn't cause the mixture to be spicy, it just adds a depth of flavor. Should you want more of a kick, feel free to be more generous). Top with paprika, optional.
5. Serve over toasted slices of bread and enjoy!
Yields 8-12 servings or 2 loaves
Time: 35 minutes
3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup flaxseed meal or wheat germ
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 cups buttermilk (or regular milk with 1 tablespoon of vinegar added)
6 tablespoons honey
Egg wash + 2 tablespoon oats for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 425*F. Prepare a baking sheet with a baking mat, parchment paper, or cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, oats, flaxseed/wheat germ, baking soda, and salt. Add the buttermilk and honey, mixing until well combined. If needed, add more all-purpose flour (1 tablespoon at a time) to create a workable, soft dough.
3. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 3 to 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half. Shape into two round loaves.
4. Place onto the prepared baking sheet, a few inches apart (if needed use a second baking sheet), slash the top of the loaves. Brush the top of the loaves with a beaten egg and lightly sprinkle oats on top.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. (I like to test a loaf's doneness by using a meat thermometer poked into the center of the loaf: 190*F indicates a fully baked, soft loaf).
6. Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before cutting to serve. Enjoy!