Anchovy Toast

Here is a tasty savoury that makes an excellent quick snack. It is for anchovy lovers only. Our pity goes out to those who do not like anchovies. Start by toasting and buttering a slice of good bread. Then lay about three or four anchovy fillets, that have been dried on a paper towel, on the toast. Cover the toast with thin (4 mm) cheddar cheese slices as completely as possible. Put the toast under the broiler of a toaster oven and heat until the cheese is well melted. Then, enjoy!

The cheddar cheese is an important part of this dish, so a few comments have to be made here. What is called "cheddar cheese" in the United States is a disgusting mass made in a factory, usually coloured yellow or orange with annatto. Its texture and taste are deplorable, and when heated it separates into an oily part and a gummy part, neither edible. You may be able to get a good cheese from New York State or from Vermont, which is not orange, and this will be satisfactory, as will Canadian Black Label. Unfortunately, these cheeses seem to be made in quantities too limited for general distribution. I have seen "Vermont" cheddar that says in small print "Made in Wisconsin." So watch out, and stay away from Wisconsin cheese. Any imported Irish or English cheddar will also be found acceptable. A proper cheddar will break in a characteristic way when bent. Good cheddar seems to be kept out of the American market by law to protect producers of the deplorable travesty. The best cheddar is made in the Brue valley of Somerset, in England. It can be found as "Farmhouse Cheddar" in Marks and Spencer, and in other places. Of course, the actual town of Cheddar is found in the northern part of this area. This cheese receives numbers to denote its sharpness. I prefer a 6, but 4 is still quite tasty. This cheese will pass through U.S. Customs if you want to import some.

I should say that a pretty good brie is made in Wisconsin, as good as the French version. Both are not quite as good as Somerset brie, however. A good American cheese, for what it is, is the process cheese known as Velveeta or Old English (of course, neither old nor English). This usually melts properly and is good on apple pie and similar things. The Somerset cheddar, however, still makes toasted cheese sandwiches that are to be preferred.

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Composed by J. B. Calvert
Created 1 January 2005
Last revised