Whiskey Cheddar BLT Toasts

Since it’s Friyay + St. Patty’s, you’re probably a little too buzzed to read this. So I’ll keep things short and sweet.

This is a GREAT freakin’ sandwich.

It’s got loads of texture, tons of flavor, and looks all sorts of fancy. Plus it’s smeared with whiskey cheddar, which you are quickly going to start making all the time.

The BLT has always been my favorite sandwich, but even good ideas could use a shake-up. Sometimes I do it with a poached egg, peppy mayo, or beloved avocado. But when I stumbled upon a Welsh rarebit recipe in my coveted The Cookbook cookbook — seriously, buy it! this is not sponsored — my latest BLT shake-up was born.

As you may remember I used to write restaurant reviews for Time Out New York. It was a fun, exciting gig with LOTS of food-related perks (I gained 6lbs), but eventually WRY began to consume all my time. But before I hung up my hat I conducted a review at The Shakespeare, a small English pub in midtown. It was there that I first ate Welsh rarebit, and let’s just say I was hooked from bite one.

Welsh rarebit is basically a Guinness-infused pub cheese smeared over toast, then broiled until brown and bubbly. It’s a unique dish that packs lots of bold flavor into one tiny slice, so when I stumbled upon a recipe for it, I couldn’t believe how simple it was. Seeing that you barely need 10 minutes to make it, I knew I had to make my own incarnation. And though Guinness has never really been my thang — car bombs have scarred me for life — whiskey definitely is. So I made a few tweaks, added a BLT on top, and voila!

Here we are.

To make the whiskey cheddar you start by preparing a roux, then seasoning it with cayenne pepper. Next add your favorite Irish lager + whiskey to the pan (Jameson is the obvious choice), then melt in shredded white cheddar cheese. Gently whisk until combined, then transfer to a shallow bowl to cool — That’s it!

Epic, delicious flavor, with barely any effort.

While the cheese solidifies cook the bacon, slice the tomato, toss the greens, and gently toast the bread. Once the whiskey cheddar is thick and spreadable, smear it onto your toasted slices, then broil until brown. The smell alone will be intoxicating — nutty, earthy, robust — but just wait. Because when you pile crisp bacon, luscious tomatoes, and lemon-dressed arugula on top? This is what the Irish call LUCK.

So much flavor, texture, and aroma in every single bite. And best of all, make the cheese beforehand — hello prep! — and this recipe gets even simpler.

Now go wash this down with a beer, will ya? xo

Whiskey Cheddar BLT Toasts

Ingredients:

  • WHISKEY CHEDDAR:
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 oz Irish lager of choice (should yield 2/3 cup)
  • 2 tbsps whiskey (I used Jameson)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire
  • 6 – 8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese, grated*
  • TOASTS:
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1 beefsteak tomato
  • 4 slices rye or sourdough bread
  • 2 oz arugula lettuce
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • a pinch of sugar
  • a pinch of salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Begin by making the whiskey cheddar. In a skillet melt the butter over a medium flame, then quickly whisk in the flour to create a roux. Stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add in the cayenne pepper, Irish lager, whiskey, and worcestershire. Let this mixture reach a simmer, then whisk in the cheddar cheese until smooth. Transfer to a shallow, heat-proof bowl, then chill the refrigerator until solidified (about 15 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon as directed, slice the tomato, and lightly toast the bread. Next, in a small mixing bowl toss the arugula in olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, and salt & pepper until evenly coated.
  3. When ready, smear each slice of toast with an ample coating of whiskey cheddar spread, then transfer to a baking sheet. Broil on oven middle rack until the cheese is browned and bubbling, then top with bacon, tomato and arugula. EAT!

* use a full 8 oz if you want your whiskey cheddar spread very thick.

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