Celebrity Sandwich with Alice Zaslavsky
In episode 2 of Celebrity Sandwich, make a Cheese and Every Kind of Onion toastie with Alice Zaslavsky.
"Call it a toastie, call it a jaffle, call it a sandwich that’s copped a bit of heat, just do yourself a solid and call it lunch! Onion as a toastie ingredient brings it all together – whether it’s the sweetness of caramelised onion jam smeared across the bread, or the crunch of salad onion through the mix.
Add some spring onion or chopped chives if you’d like some extra green stuff poking out, or even some diced Spanish onion for piquancy and a pop of purple."
Cheese and Every Kind of Onion Toastie: Makes 2 toasties
- 4 slices of yesterday’s thick-cut high-tin sourdough loaf (see tips)
- 300g hard cheese (Alice uses a three-cheese mix of equal parts cheddar, Gruyère and raclette)
- 2 tbsp onion jam
- A good schmear of butter
- 1 tsp mayo (Alice uses Kewpie)
- Pinch of ground white pepper
- Salt flakes
- Optional onion additions – as few or as many as you like
- Half a white onion, finely diced
- Spring onion, finely sliced
- Chives, finely chopped
- Spanish onion, finely diced
- Optional fancy flourish
- Brandy or white wine for brushing the outside of the bread
- Heat a heavy-bottomed pan to medium-low heat to ensure even coverage
- Meanwhile, grate all of the cheeses into a bowl, add your pepper, plus the optional onion additions of your choice
- Spread each slice of bread with butter on one side and mayo on the other
- Place the mayo-spread sides of bread facing down on a piece of baking paper wide enough to fit the slice and long enough to fold over a sandwich
- Schmear the buttered sides thickly with onion jam. Distribute the grated cheese evenly onto each sandwich. You want the layer of cheese to be the same thickness as the bread (this is a trick from cheesemonger mate Anthony Femia, from Maker & Monger at Prahran Market)
- Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, and lift the whole thing into the pan in the baking paper. Fold the paper over the top to cover the sandwich and weigh it down with something heavy (another frying pan with a 500g bag of flour or sugar will do it; just look for something encased in paper, not plastic)
- Let it sizzle away for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes
- Once the cheese has melted evenly and you’ve got a nice golden crust on the outside, lift it out of the pan (if you’d like an optional bougie fancy flourish at this stage, you could brush the outside of the sandwich with white wine or brandy), sprinkle it with salt flakes, slice it in half and serve hot. Oh yeah.
Ask your bakery to “toast slice” your loaf (that means thick slices), or buy a whole loaf and cut it yourself at home using a serrated knife
Bread that’s a day or two old works better than a very fresh loaf. Leaving it uncovered in the fridge overnight is a good way to dry it out, too
You’ll find Gruyère and raclette cheese at most supermarkets – but do yourself a favour (and flavour!) and make friends with your local deli or cheesemonger. They’ll know what’s up
You’ll also find onion jam at most supermarkets and delis. Look for the jar that has the highest percentage of actual onions in the ingredients list. You can also substitute onions gently cooked down to sweet softness in butter or oil with a pinch of salt.
About Alice Zaslavsky
Alice “In Frames” Zaslavsky is a food educator, a food literacy advocate, writer, cook and broadcaster, a friendly and familiar presence on Australian screens in her appearances on MasterChef, Crunch Time, Kitchen Whiz, Short Cuts to Glory, and ABC News Breakfast.
Nigella Lawson describes her as nothing less than “a force of nature”, and this year she follows up her first cookbook, Alice’s Food A-Z, with a new release, In Praise of Veg, published November 2020.
Alice has put her experience and talents to full use in founding Edible Adventures Productions, putting critical food literacy back on the agenda in schools.
Her team's pilot project, Phenomenom, a free digital food literacy program for primary schools funded by industry and government, helps redirect the conversation around kids and vegetables, while Nomcast, the complementary podcast for families, is quickly becoming a weekly staple on the school commute.
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