Some countries (like India) do toasted sandwiches really really well. It is a serious business. And you’ve gotta love a country that spends as much time preparing a toasted sandwich filling as they do cooking any other dish.
In Australia, toasted sandwiches are those food items that need to be instant. They are instant snacks or a Winter’s night supper in front of the television. They are late night snacks or work place lunches. They pair well with a large bowl of Tomato Soup.
By the way, everyone I know has a different understanding about the difference between a toasted sandwich, jaffle, toastie and grilled sandwich. Some differentiate between a toastie and a toasted sandwich. A toastie they say, has sealed edges and is cut in half (with the cut edge also sealed) and a toasted sandwich is neither sealed nor cut. Toasties are called jaffles in a few areas of Australia (e.g. Sydney), but not many. I connect jaffles with the round toasting irons that went over a wood fire or a gas stove. You can still get them in camping stores. A grilled sandwich is a US term for toasted sandwiches.
But I want to be clear that I use the term toastie to mean a sandwich that has been toasted and may or may not have sealed edges and may or may not be cut in half. Either way.
In Australia, the most common filling for toasties is cheese – cheese and tomato, for example. There are examples of non-vegetarian items that are added (but we don’t cover them here).
Baked beans is another common filling (using tinned baked beans), perfect for a cold Winter’s day. We present a few more options for you.
How to Make Toasted Sandwiches
Toasted sandwiches are made by buttering 2 slices of bread per sandwich, and placing the filling between the unbuttered sides of the bread (ie the butter is on the outside of the sandwich). The sandwich is then toasted in a frying pan (flip over after one side is toasted), grill pan, Sandwich Press or in a Toasted Sandwich Maker. Five minutes, and a hot steaming sandwich is ready – enough time to make a cuppa to sip with the sandwich.
Rules for Toasties
1. Any bread, cheese and other ingredients will make a good toasted sandwich. But when friends are coming over, know that BETTER-than-average cheese on better-than-average bread makes a better-than-average sandwich.
2. BREAD shouldn’t be any thicker than 1.5cm, 2cm at most, per slice otherwise it’s only the bread that toasts and the filling does not warm.
3. THE only leafy green worth putting on a toasted sandwich – and only in combination with other ingredients – is baby spinach.
4. GREAT options for inclusion are pickled vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi, roasted eggplant or sweet potato, and semi or sun-dried tomatoes.
5. RELISHES and pickles are excellent condiment choices as are good mustards, horseradish and mayo. And for a binding agent, go for a little finely grated cheese.
6. Use BUTTER (delicious) or margarine. Or, a smear of olive oil also works a treat.
7. GRATED cheese or thin slices will melt faster than thick slices. This is especially important if you want the heat to do its work on all the ingredients in a multi-layered construction.
8. FINELY chopped raw white onion puts a lively zing into a toastie. It’s especially good with cheddar cheese.
9. A BATTER of chickpea flour can be used to dip bread in before being toasted for an extra layer of flavour in the toastie.
Cheese and Mustard Toastie
Spread one unbuttered side of your bread with mustard, home made for best pungency, and add slices of cheese on top. Place the other slice of bread on the cheese (buttered side out) and toast by your chosen method. Horseradish is a good alternative for mustard.
Cheese and Chutney Toastie
Spread one side of your unbuttered bread with chutney, for example, Fennel and Lemon Chutney, or an Indian Chutney such as Roasted Eggplant Chutney, and add slices of cheese on top. Place the other slice of bread on the cheese (buttered side out) and toast by your chosen method.
Banana and Honey Toastie
Layer banana slices over the unbuttered side of one of the bread slices, then drizzle with as much honey as you like.
If desired, add one or more of: cinnamon, black pepper, peanut butter, cream cheese, smooth ricotta cheese, marscapone cheese, squeeze lemon juice.
Place the there slice of bread over the filling, buttered side out, and toast by your chosen method.
The banana can be mashed with the honey and any additional items before making the toasted sandwich.
Gruyere and Pear Toastie
Using the method from the other toasted sandwiches, fill them with the following layers:
grated or sliced Gruyère cheese
slices of firm pear
salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste
more grated or sliced Gruyère cheese
and toast using your favourite method.
Brie can be used with or instead of the Gruyère.