Ask Peter: Ultimate cheese sammies
The simplest dishes rely on the best ingredients for their success. I have a simple question for you regarding cheese and onion sandwiches. On occasion one strikes a really sharp, flavoursome combination whereas mine are just cheese with onion. I use grated tasty cheese with chopped onion. Am I missing something?
The simplest of dishes rely on TBI - a very simple rule of thumb: The Best Ingredients.
If a cheese and onion sandwich is to stand out from the crowd, then you need to have the best white or wholemeal bread and the strongest cheese. Something as generic as "tasty cheese" won't cut the mustard.
When it comes to onion, you need to decide on red, white or spring onion. For me, it's always the former, with spring onions in second place.
Butter or mayonnaise and a tiny bit of mustard will add character, along with salt and freshly ground black pepper if you don't want the mustard.
Thinly slice a red onion, then slice a really flavoursome and strong tasting cheddar-style cheese into 2mm slices. Choose a white bread (or wholemeal, but not granary) that has some guts to it - you don't want fluff. Mix some room-temperature butter with a little hot English mustard and butter both sides of the bread with it. Layer with the onion, then two to three slices of cheese, then a little more onion, then more cheese. Press firm and hold for 10 seconds. Cut into fingers and eat, or better still, chill for an hour.
Or another method is to grate 10% white-fleshed onion with 90% grated extra strong cheese and put between two buttered pieces of white bread.
If you're a fan of blue cheese, caramelise red or white onions in a little olive oil and finish with a slosh of balsamic vinegar. Once cold, spread on two slices of buttered bread and top with fat chunks of gorgonzola and some grated parmesan and you will have a more gourmet, but still basic, cheese sandwich.
Another concern could be chutney vs piccalilli. Chutneys can be cheese's best friend, but some of the fruitier sweeter ones can be overbearing or challenging. Blue cheeses and soft goat's and sheep's cheeses go well with fruity chutneys, but hard cheddar types sometimes lose their personality. Piccalilli however is a great match most of the time (it's acidic, savoury and grunty)
In our Ask Peter series, executive chef Peter Gordon answers your curly culinary questions. If you’re stumped over something food-related, send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep checking in for answers. You can read more on Peter on his website, have a read of his Ask Peter articles or check out his recipes on our site.