We love the smell and the taste of ooey gooey

When it comes to cooking with cheese, I’m total devoted to recipes that call for melted cheese. There is nothing quite like the smell and the taste of ooey gooey.

Which brings us to making my soon-to-be famous (with tongue in cheek) Three-Cheese Toastie.

The recipe was inspired by a cheese vendor in Borough Market in London, England, called Kappacasein. I learned about it during chat at a farmer’s market at Brickworks several years ago which led me to a mouth-watering video on YouTube.

We love to showcase fabulous Canadian cheese when we cook, especially for family and friends.

My Three-Cheese Toastie is all about showcasing Canadian artisan cheese. The recipe I developed—by delicious trial and error—originally called for a blend of three artisan cheeses, two from Ontario, one from Quebec.

The main ingredient is cheddar. I tried others but always came back to cheddar.

Empire Cheese & Butter, in Campbellford, Ontario, northwest of Belleville, started making cheese in 1876. It’s now owned by a group of dairy farmers and still dedicated to traditional handcrafted cheesemaking.

In case you didn’t know, cheddaring started in the village of Cheddar in southwest England in the 12th century. Yes, 12th century!

We use the 2-year cheddar made at Empire. Older cheddars have less moisture and aren’t as good for grilled cheese.

Two cheeses have supporting roles in our original recipe: Mountainoak Gouda and Louis d’Or.

Mountainoak Gouda

Adam van Bergejik and his wife, Hannie, emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in 1996. Sons and a daughter are involved in the dairy farm and cheese business.

Louis d’Or

The Morin family are sixth generation dairy farmers. Across the street, in a former Roman Catholic rectory, is the fromagerie that Jean Morin founded in 2005. Since then, Morin was has won more awards than any other cheesemaker in Québec.

A Three-Cheese Toastie served with potato chips. It cries out for a light lager or a dry bubbly wine.

Let’s get started!

Shred the cheese immediately after removing from fridge. If you let it come up to room temperature, you’ll have a mess on your hands.

Other ingredients:

  • Red onion
  • White onion (NOT cooking onion)
  • Garlic
  • Leek.

Chopped fairly fine and mixed thoroughly into cheese blend. In equal parts. Tailor to your taste.

Quantities are easy to remember:

To make 10 sandwiches, you’ll need 1 kilo or 1,000 grams of cheese mixture. If only 5 sandwiches, which we’re doing, 500 grams of cheese mixture and 50 grams of onion/leek/garlic.

We’re shooting for about 100 grams of cheese per sammie. Equal cheese and bread for best results.

Mix well.

Other ingredients:

  • Optional: Black Forest Ham, 2 slices, folded, per Sammie, approx 25 g per slice;
  • Chopped chives, a pinch.
  • Bread, at least one day old so it toasts nicely.
The lovely crumb of home-baked white bread, thanks to Mrs. K., ideal for grilling cheese sammies.

We started out using Stonemill Bakehouse Bavarian Sourdough Light Rye, for that rustic look and flavour, but in recent times have come to prefer a plain white bread baked at home.

For speed and efficiency when making 100 or more toasties at our local farmers market, we used butter-flavored PAM with excellent results.

At home, we use either unsalted butter or mayo, slathered on the outside of both slices of bread. As the years slide by, we may be developing a preference for the mayo option, mainly because it produces such a nice even brown.

If you’re adding ham, to make what is called a Croque Monsieur, smear a small amount of mustard on the ham. To make a Croque Madame, top with a fried egg, sunny side up.

Usually, we’ll just use a non-stick frying pan, using a second pan or skillet to press down the toasties as they toast away. When we have more time, or guests, we’ll use our Cuisinart Griddler.

Yikes! We let the cheese warm up to room temperature and didn’t have sufficient heat on the grill.

Medium heat works well. About 3 or 4 minutes per side, or until cheese melts and bread toasts. Serve while hot, cutting each sandwich on the diagonal to expose more of the ooey gooey. We start eating with our eyes, after all

We’ll usually serve the toasties with a handful of potato chips or a small tomato or gherkins or all of the above.

In the toasties that you see in the video and photos, we went with cheese we had on hand:

The bread we used was house-baked white bread, not sourdough as incorrectly mentioned in the video.

In any event, enjoy!

Let us know how you like our toastie recipe with a comment below. If you’re new to CheeseLover.ca, sign up for email updates in the upper right of the home page.

—Georgs Kolesnikovs

Georgs Kolesnikovs, Cheese-Head-in-Chief at CheeseLover.ca, has never met a cheese he didn’t like . . . well, hardly ever.

We demonstrate how make Cheesy Melts cheese toasties on the CNE Celebrity Chef Stage.