When it comes to cheese, I guess I tend to lean toward the white side of things more so than the yellow or orange, so that means that mozzarella, feta, goat, and provolone are what I reach for first when I'm standing in front of the deli case wondering what I should throw in the cart. And it doesn't stop there, because machego, iberico, St. Andre, brie, and camembert are also favorites.
This doesn't mean I don't care for "orange" cheese, however, and I do have to think of the resident hunkster who absolutely loves extra sharp cheddar. Loves. It. Finds it in the deli drawer, looks at me and asks, "Are you saving this for anything?" and then takes a slice here and a nibble there — especially when he comes home from work and dinner isn't quite ready.
Me? I only like it melted. Melted in grilled cheese sandwiches, or on burgers. Oozing between layers of pasta or in enchiladas. Or Welsh Rabbit.
Welsh what? Wait — cheese with rabbit? Hmmm…
No, no rabbit. Welsh Rarebit — or in this case, Mexican Rarebit.
Evidently, both names are correct — rarebit or rabbit — and if you're one whose interests lean toward the history of food, then there's much to read about his particular dish. To me, it's yet another dish that is relatively quick, comforting, and fairly inexpensive — yet packed with incredible flavor.
1/2 Negro Modello or other dark beer
1/2 c. heavy cream
1-1/2 c. extra sharp cheddar, shredded
2 lg. egg yolks
1-3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
salt & pepper
3-4 thick slices peasant-style bread
Preheat broiler and position a rack about 6-8" from the heating element.
On a baking sheet, position 3-4 oven/broiler proof dishes and place a piece of bread in each. Set aside.
In a saucepan, boil the beer until reduced by half. Pour in the cream and cook until reduced by half again. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool to room temp.
Mix the cheddar, egg yolks, Worcestershire sauce, and dry mustard in a small bowl and season with salt & pepper. Pour the cooled beer mixture over and stir well.
Spoon a good quantity of the cheesy mixture over each piece of bread and broil until it is bubbly and nicely browned on the edges. Serve immediately.
- So, when you don't have Guinness for a traditionally Welsh or British dish, you use whatever dark beer you have in your fridge and because it's Negro Modello, you call this dish Mexican Rarebit. I suppose I should have sprinkled some cilantro over the top, right? Maybe a few jalapenos? That does sound pretty good if you ask me.
- If you're not into the beer, then a bechamel sauce would work to melt the cheese in much like you would do when making macaroni and cheese. Just make sure you've got the mustard in there. If you don't have dry mustard powder, then a nice stone-ground and seedy mustard should be good.
- When I make dishes like this that need to go right under the broiler, I use my Cordon Bleu au gratin dishes. I love them because they can take the broiler heat and make sure the food you're serving is piping hot. If you're looking for a versatile dish to add to your kitchen, this is it. They make great banana split bowl, or are perfect for a small cup of soup and a salad, too.