I had the best sandwich of my life during my trip to the UK in June. And I’m slightly embarrassed to say that it was a cheese and red onion sandwich I bought from the M&S outlet at Gatwick Airport. I can’t begin to describe the sheer beauty of that sandwich: it was creamy, it was full of really good, honest cheese and the onions were so sweet and crunchy and my mouth is watering from just thinking about that sandwich.
Now obviously the sensible thing to do would be to try and recreate that sandwich. I’m pretty sure I’ve previously talked about how expensive cheeses are in Singapore and it took me quite a long time to get around to buying a good block of Red Leicester just so that I can make my own cheese and onion sandwich. I’m not sure whether you’re the sort of person who’d like cheese and onion together, though. I don’t usually see that many people going after the onions when I order from Subway (unless they’re the type to ask for all the vegetables; I’m a tomato, lettuce and onion person myself) and I would indeed advise you to brush your teeth after eating this. But I think the onions are a lovely, slightly spicy counterpart to the sharpness of the cheeses in this sandwich. Use a good, British cheese – Red Leicester and cheddar should be perfectly fine. As for the onions, I’d go with either red onions or sweet white onions. I’ve seen recipes online that grill the sandwich afterwards, which I think is completely unnecessary – this is not the British version of a grilled cheese sandwich. Some recipes also make use of salt, which I think is not required; the saltiness of the cheese should suffice, and I’m not exactly salt-phobic.
(One day, I will try and recreate the coronation chicken sandwich I ate in London. But that’ll probably take more time.)
British Cheese and Onion Sandwich
Serves 1, as a substantial snack or a light lunch
What you need
- 50 g of grated cheese (a mixture of Red Leicester and mature white cheddar)
- A quarter of a small red onion or sweet white onion, finely diced
- 1 tbsp mayonnaise
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the cheese and onions in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and a good helping of freshly ground black pepper. Mix everything thoroughly using a spoon. Butter two slices of untoasted bread (I suppose you could toast the bread if you really wanted to, but I think soft bread goes really well with the creamy, slightly lumpy texture of the sandwich filling) and spread the filling on the bread slices. Assemble the sandwich and then slice into two triangles. You can serve this with a light salad on the side or, if you’re short of time (like me), a couple of cherry tomatoes or a boiled egg.