This brilliant Susan Jane White recipe for a kimcheese toastie brings together clever cooking and fermented ingredients, making it a winner in our book
She’s back, with a book about batch cooking with delicious ingredients. And if you’re not convinced a book can change your life, we say try this Susan Jane White recipe for a kimcheese toastie!
Susan Jane says: “This is my current favourite dish. If you’re not pushed on the kimchi, we cannot be friends. Kimchi is a fermented chilli and cabbage salad with a very delicious tang. There’s enough heat in this kimcheese toastie to have you prancing like a defected Morris dancer.
“The key lies in the pan and parchment paper. You need a lidded, heavy-based sauté pan, but a frying pan and big plate should suffice in a pinch. Also, it’s important to use a hard cheese like Parmesan or Cais na Tire for the outside slices and a medium-soft cheese for the centre. We have a thing for smoked Gubbeen or Killeen’s gouda-style goat’s cheese for the centre. An aged Cheddar is goddamn racy too.”
You will need:
- Non-stick baking paper
- 2 thin slices of sourdough bread
- Dressed salad leaves, to serve (optional)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon kimchi (below)
- 2 slices of Cheddar or Gubbeen, at room temperature
- First step is to cut a snug circle of parchment for the bottom of your sauté pan. Weird, but important. A casserole pot or a frying pan will also work.
- Heat your pan (and circle of parchment) over a low to medium heat. While your pan is heating up, spread one side of a slice of bread with 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan, spreading it out over the crusts too. Place on the heated parchment, cheesy side down. Set your stopwatch to 3 minutes.
- Now add your slice of Cheddar or Gubbeen on top of the (unbuttered) side of bread while the cheesy side bubbles underneath. Pile the kimchi over the cheese.
- Finally, butter the top slice as before, add the remaining Parmesan and place on top of the kimchi. Press firmly on top of your kimcheese and flip so that the top side now becomes the bottom slice.
- Place a lid over your pan. Set your stopwatch for another 3 minutes. Try not to let the Parmesan brown and burn – you’re looking for a soft caramel colour, so adjust the timing to suit your pan.
- Plate up beside a nest of freshly dressed salad leaves (if using). Cut in half and admire your brilliance.
How to make kimchi
Susan Jane says: “Nobody wants to live forever, especially if you’re in pain or if your husband has halitosis. Could we possibly enjoy both health and longevity as scientists continue to make huge advances in our understanding of human biology? I think even Disney would be doubtful. Few of us will see our ninth decade. And those of us who do will be burdened with arthritic shopping rounds, or worse still, bad conversation.
Making your own food with unprocessed, fresh ingredients is the ultimate ammo against ageing. We can’t fight off the ageing process, but we can certainly engage in battle. Every cookery class I give around the country, I’m always asked for my Number One kitchen tip. Here it is: eat a little salad before your supper. Not during. Not after. Just before. This will ensure you mainline a suite of antioxidants and essential minerals into your system before you fill up on other stuff. If you do this every day, you will cash in the benefits of 365 bowls of goodness each year to help your skin glow and your limbs ignite. Here’s one to get you started. Kale free.”
Makes 1 x 500ml jar
You will need:
- 500g Napa (Chinese leaf) cabbage, cored and shredded
- Just over 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 2 spring onions, trimmed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Bit of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce)
- ½ tablespoon Korean chilli flakes
- Splash of fresh filtered water
- Put the cabbage in a bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage leaves until nicely softened. Cover with cold water, weigh it down with something heavy and leave for 1 hour. Rinse under cold running water and leave to dry. A salad spinner is useful.
- Using a sharp potato peeler, slice long thin ribbons of carrot into a large bowl. Halve the trimmed spring onions and add them to the bowl too.
- Now blitz the garlic, ginger, fish sauce and chilli with a little filtered water to form a paste. Add to the bowl.
- Squeeze any excess water from your cabbage leaves before adding to the bowl of all the other ingredients. Coat everything really well and transfer to a 500ml glass jar, pressing down firmly so the brine rises to cover the veg. Add a weight, such as a clean stone or espresso cup, and seal the jar at room temperature for five days. Ta-da! I like to stand mine in a bowl to catch any adventurous brine going AWOL. Transfer to your fridge and enjoy within six weeks.
Taken from Clever Batch by Susan Jane White