In recent times the student world has been wooed by the stylish sophistication of the domestic coffee machine and the allure of the home juicer, but these frivolous lifestyle choices pale at the mighty, the sturdy, the no-nonsense sandwich toaster. In all my many years at university I have never known any of my humble abodes to be without one, and in every instance the sandwich toaster is a 1980s relic bestowed upon you by parents who, thinking they have unloaded some ancient clutter, have unknowingly empowered their soon to be eternally grateful son or daughter.
Having had my heirloom give up the ghost I was forced into finally investing in a new model, the sleek Breville VST025 Sandwich Press. To celebrate this momentous occasion I endeavoured to explore the yet unconquered frontiers of sandwich toaster possibilities.
First of all I took it easy and experimented with the most mainstream of sandwich. To get into the swing of things I rustled up a simple Gouda and smoked ham toastie. My big recommendation here is to sprinkle a little grated cheese on the top of the sandwich just before lid is closed—the cheese melts and then transforms into a golden molten crisp layer adding a new texture, colour, and flavour to the humble cheese and ham toastie.
Next, I figured why not make sweet sandwiches? Taking my inspiration from an artisan sandwich bar I discovered last year, I can only endorse this phenomenal and striking concoction. Now this will sound pretty far out but the marriage really works; a brie, strawberry and chocolate toasted sandwich! Start by laying your brie on wholegrain bread; place on top a few broken pieces of nice dark chocolate (which of course melt sumptuously during grilling) and layer on a few sliced strawberries. The juicy fruit, the salty cheese, and hot molten chocolate, texturally balanced by the toasted bread makes for a king of a sandwich.
Take a trip south of the border and bang, we have Quesadillas. Take your soft flour tortillas and fold in half. On one half heap some strong grated cheddar, add in some diced chorizo, and scatter on some red chillies and finely sliced spring onion, and a shower of chop flecks of coriander. Once the tortilla is folded into a half moon into the jaws of fate it goes. The outside with be hard and crisp and the inside molten, spicy, and gooey. I served it with guacamole, but any dip such as sour cream or salsa will do.
Despite all the endless variations of toasted sandwiches, there must a parallel universe of rosti, halloumi, and slice fruit caramelisation…