Savories are a particularly British way to end a meal, obviously not something sweet, a dish more appropriately washed down with a glass of port. For example, Welsh Rarebit, Soft Roes on Toast or, historically, Bone Marrow were often eaten as a savory.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” Proverb – late sixteenth century
“The road to hell could be paved with my intentions to update twice in one week” Ryan – fairly recently
I have an excuse this time, I really do. See, my wife just finished a run of the Pirates of Penzance for the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Austin, and Sunday night was the cast party. She volunteered us to bring an appetizer, and while I’d have no problems with Jellied Tripe, I didn’t want to inflict anything a little too far out there on the unsuspecting actors and musicians. Welsh Rarebit seemed like a perfect fit: not really bizarre by any standards, and easily adaptable to bite size servings.
Since there were supposed to be roughly 30 people at the party, I decided to double the recipe. Things started off with me making a light roux.
Once the roux started smelling “biscuity” I added a bit of cayenne pepper and some of the always fabulous Colman’s Mustard…
… along with a pint of Guinness Stout and a few big splashes of Worcestershire sauce.
The mixture looked almost like I had dumped a latte in the pan. I turned the heat down to low and began working on the cheese.
The recipe called for a lot of grated, mature, strong cheddar cheese. The cheese monger at my local megamart suggested this Denhay Farm cheddar. After tasting it, I can see why it has won so many awards.
Shortly after my wrist fell off, I had grated the entire two pounds of cheddar. I added it to the pan, and slowly let it melt.
Seven minutes later the cheese had reached the right consistency. I pulled out a half sheet baking pan and poured the mixture onto it so it could cool down and set. Unfortunately, at that moment my wife arrived at home after her last performance and striking the set. That meant that we needed to head out for the party, pronto.
So I cheated a little and stuck the pan in the freezer while I ran around getting ready.
Right before we left, I cut a whole baguette into half inch slices and scrapped some of the cheese mixture into a casserole dish.
Upon our arrival, I asked for permission to use the oven. Manners first. Once I was given the okay, I flipped the broiler on high and began applying the cheesy spread on to the baguette slices. Into the oven the sheet pan went …
… and I began taking pictures for my wife while the rarebit sat under the broiler.
Golden brown? Check.
With those two requirements achieved, the rarebit was finished. I yanked them out of the oven and began serving the party guests who had begun slowly gravitating toward the kitchen. The wonderful smell of the rarebit is slightly intoxicating.
Welsh rarebit is like a refined, sophisticated, slightly spicy cheesy bread. Not counting lactose intolerant folks, I can’t imagine a single person not liking it.
To back up my theory, every piece was happily eaten, and here’s a picture of my wife’s friend Lisa Alexander serving her husband some rarebit. They’re also big fans of Fergus Henderson, and we ended up talking about some of the recipes from Beyond Nose to Tail.
One down, one hundred and seven to go.