Hungry? Give these top-notch toasties from the Fed and Baker Gramercy a whirl.
In The Spinoff’s humble opinion, the toastie is the absolute pinnacle of New Zealand cuisine, so we’re right on board with the Great New Zealand Toastie Tour. In a collaboration between McClure’s Pickles and Coffee Supreme, 20 cafes and food outlets across Aotearoa have come up with their own special toastie takes and added them to their menus for the month of August.
Al Brown’s Federal Delicatessen uses cheese curds, the stretchy, melty goodness that features in the Auckland institution’s famous poutine, in a grilled cheese that dreams are made of. (Mozzarella provides a similar effect.)
Baker Gramercy‘s kūmara thyme sourdough, meanwhile, stars in the Wellington bakery’s delicious toastie featuring stout-braised onions, gruyère, béchamel and pickles.
If you can’t make it to Federal St or Berhampore, both places have kindly shared their recipes with us, so you can embark on your own great toastie tour (from the sofa to the kitchen and back) at home.
FED DELI’S ‘FED’ GRILLED CHEESE & SPICY PICKLE SANDWICH
Makes 1 toastie
2 slices rye bread
30g Swiss cheese, sliced
60g McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles (or to taste)
40g mozzarella (the Fed uses cheese curds, but this is only sold to cafes and restaurants)
40g gruyère, sliced
30g clarified butter
Top one slice of rye bread with the Swiss cheese and layer the pickles on top. Add the cheese curds or mozzarella and the gruyère, then top with the other slice of bread. Cut the sandwich in half.
Heat a cast-iron flat grill or heavy-based frying pan over medium high-heat, add half the butter then grill the sandwich until toasted. Add the remaining butter then flip the sandwich and toast the other side until golden and the cheese is melted.
BAKER GRAMERCY’S KŪMARA THYME GRUYÈRE TOASTIE WITH STOUT-BRAISED ONIONS, BÉCHAMEL & PICKLES
Makes 4 toasties
For the béchamel
25g salted butter
salt and pepper to taste
whole grated nutmeg to taste
75g aged cheddar, grated (optional)
Melt the butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour. Cook it through until it bubbles but don’t let it brown.
Slowly add the milk while whisking over a moderate heat and continue to whisk until it reaches a boil. Reduce the heat and whisk until it thickens noticeably.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and a couple of gratings of nutmeg. To enrich, stir through the grated cheddar and remove from the heat.
For the stout-braised onions
3-4 medium onions
50ml beef stock (we use Foundation Foods), optional
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
Cut the onions in half and thinly slice. Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions on a low to moderate heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Crank up the heat and caramelise the onions – don’t let them burn! Add 50ml-75ml of your favourite stout and simmer to reduce.
For additional comfort, 50ml beef stock can be incorporated and again reduced until thick and glossy. Season with salt and pepper and stir in a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard.
For the toastie
8 slices of sourdough (a day or two old is better than fresh)
12 slices of McClure’s Sweet & Spicy Pickles (3-4 per sandwich)
gruyère or other good melting cheese, sliced
Smear all eight sourdough slices with the béchamel, then top four of them with a generous layer of stout-braised onions, some McClure’s pickles and sliced gruyère or other good melting cheese and top with the remaining sourdough.
Lightly butter the outside of the sandwich and toast until golden brown and the cheese is running.
The Spinoff’s food content is brought to you by Freedom Farms. They believe talking about food is nearly as much fun as eating it, and they’re excited to facilitate some good conversations around food provenance in Aotearoa New Zealand.