A Toastie is a British term for a toasted sandwich. The name toastie is perfect, it sets you up for a sandwich that is hot, gooey and delicious. I was sceptical of the claim for the best Toastie, but then I took my first bite and was blown away.
The Toastie was believed to have been invented by Charles Champion in 1920 and was patented in 1925. I traditional Toasties in different from the grilled sandwich. The Toastie is made between two plates, or now a sandwich maker that has its ends closed and grilled in the oven. A grilled sandwich is made on a pan with the edges open, and now in the common panini maker.
This Toastie was a burst of flavour. The soft toasted bread sandwiches have spicy rose harissa and have a mild sweetness from the honey. The melted halloumi is layered in these flavours and gooey from the heat. The fresh tomatoes and pickled onions add crunch and freshness to the dish. The English traditional Toastie is brought alive with Middle Eastern flavours that pop and make you want more. This sandwich has a lot of components and there is quite a bit of prep work, but it is fabulous.
I have several cookbooks from Sabrina Ghayour and cook from them often. This one in particular is one of my favourites as the flavours pop off the page. The recipes range from her core Middle Eastern to the Far East, but all of them are easy and delicious. She plays with a range of flavours, ingredients and cooking styles in this book which makes it fun to cook from.
For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
4 thin slices of halloumi cheese
1 teaspoon oil
4 slices Japanese milk bread
2-4 teaspoons rose harissa, see Note
A light drizzle of light honey
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons quick pickled onions, see recipe below
Salt, to taste
Quick pickled onions,
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
Mix all the ingredients for the pickled onions well and allow to pickle for at least 1 hour, but overnight is best.
Add the oil to a frying pan and fry the halloumi cheese till browned on both sides, about 45-90 seconds each. Remove and pat dry on paper towels. Set aside.
Prepare the sandwich right before serving. Layer butter on one side. Top with the fried halloumi slices on each piece of bread. Add a generous layer of rose harissa. Top with a layer of tomatoes and drizzle with honey. Add a generous serving of pickled onions. Close each sandwich.
heat the frying pan and add a dab of butter. Add a sandwich to the pan and press down firmly. Cook for 30 seconds till the bread is fried and brown. Flip gently and fry the second side. Repeat with the second sandwich.
Cut the sandwich and layer on a platter. Drizzle very lightly with the honey and serve while still hot and the halloumi is melted.