Rarebit makes a fantastic light supper or hearty snack to have at a pub after a few pints of beer. A simple mixture of sharp cheddar cheese, beer, cayenne, and mustard served hot on crisp toast can be topped with an egg, if you're in the mood for a runny yolk. A simply roasted tomato makes a great addition to this plate, cutting the fat of the cheese with concentrated acidity and sweetness after spending some time in the oven.
You can serve rarebit simply over toast, or you can take the extra step of placing your cheese-drenched toast under the broiler until the cheese begins to brown and bubble. I feel that's a necessary step if you're not putting an egg on top, but if you've gone to the trouble of producing a perfect runny yolk, then it seems silly to not let that yolk mix with the gooey, beer-flavored cheese sauce.
The type of beer used in Welsh rarebit can be a contentious subject; some prefer the bold flavor of a porter, while some like the more subtle bitterness of a brown ale. Whichever you use, make sure that it is a beer you love to drink, and serve a pint alongside your rarebit and tomatoes.
This version of rarebit is designed to be a quick meal or snack, and if you don't have the time or energy to roast some tomatoes, a simple green salad or even some pickles would make a great fast side.
- 4 small tomatoes, tops sliced off
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup beer
- 2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 4 slices sourdough bread, toasted
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375°F. Place tomatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until tomatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place beer in a 1 quart microwavable dish and microwave on high until just simmering, about 2 minutes. Toss the shredded cheese with flour, mustard, and cayenne pepper.
Add half of the cheese mixture to the beer and stir to combine. Return to microwave and cook on high for 1 minute; remove from heat, add the rest of the cheese and mix well. Return to microwave for 1 minute, then remove and add Worcestershire and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sauce should be smooth and thick.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until lightly smoking, then crack eggs into pan. Season to taste and fry until the whites are just set but the yolks are still runny.
Place each slice of toast on a separate plate, place a roasted tomato next to the bread, then top each slice of bread with 1/2 cup of cheese sauce and top with a fried egg. Garnish with parsley and cracked pepper, if desired.
1 quart microwaveable dish