Toasties to pair with wine? You betcha.

Darren Purchese
30 August, 2017

Try this menu of next-level toasted sandwiches from pastry king Darren Purchese, complete with pitch-perfect wine matches from our friends at Halliday Wine Companion.

Mac & cheese waffle
Makes 4

Pro tips: I tried this with many different breads and have come to the conclusion that only supermarket white sandwich will do for this one. Load it up with cheese for that extra gooey centre. This is a great use of leftover pasta and why stop here? Spag bol jaffle anyone?
Prep time: 40 minutes (plus standing)
Toasting method: Jaffle maker
Bread: 8 slices white sandwich loaf

½ brown onion
1 clove
600ml full-cream milk
25g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for spreading on the bread
25g plain flour
150g Gruyère, grated
150g young Fontina, grated
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp white-wine vinegar
Salt flakes
White pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
250g small elbow macaroni or mini tubes
180g Comté, grated

Place the onion, clove and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Bring back to the boil and strain the hot milk into a jug.

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat (I like to use a cast-iron pan, but any pan will do). Add the flour and cook, stirring with a heat-resistant spatula, for 3 minutes. Slowly add the strained milk in four stages, whisking the mixture to a smooth paste after every addition. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly with the spatula to stop the mixture from sticking to the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, add the Gruyère and Fontina and stir well to incorporate. Mix in the chives, vinegar and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside in a warm place.

Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the macaroni. Cook following the packet instructions or until al dente, then drain.

Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir it in well. Leave the mixture to cool – if it gets too thick, you can add a splash of warm milk, but remember it will loosen once reheated.

Preheat a jaffle maker. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Assemble your four sandwiches directly in the jaffle maker (two at a time if that is the size of your machine). Place four slices of bread, butter side down, in the jaffle maker and spoon 2–3 heaped tablespoons of macaroni cheese in the centre of the slices.

Top with a quarter of the grated Comté. Close the sandwiches with the remaining slices of bread, buttered side up. Finish all four sandwiches and then cook them in the jaffle maker until they are golden brown and sealed.

Wine match: 2016 Cockfighter’s Ghost Single Vineyard Shiraz
The rich cheeses in this jaffle need a wine that can stand up to the strong flavours. This shiraz has rich fruit flavours, savoury spice and acidity to complement the toastie. – Winemaker Xanthe Hatcher

Prawn & sesame toast with spring onion purée
Makes 4

I have a thing for prawn toast. It reminds me of the takeaway Chinese food I had with my parents and sister when I was younger. Dad liked lemon chicken, Mum liked anything with king prawns, my sister Emma always had special fried rice and barbecued pork rib things, and I loved all of it – but especially prawn toast.

Pro tips: Cheapish white sandwich bread works well here and the dipping sauce makes for an unusual but delicious accompaniment to the fried toast.
Prep time: 35 minutes
Toasting method: Barbecue, pan and oven
Bread: 4 slices white sandwich loaf, crusts cut off, each slice cut into 2 thick fingers

20 spring onions, white part only
⅓ cup light olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
½ bunch chives, finely chopped
Salt flakes
White pepper
180ml toasted sesame oil
200g green king prawns, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
2 bird’s eye chillies, seeded and thinly sliced
1 egg white
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1 litre canola or sunflower oil for frying

To make the spring onion purée, grill half the spring onions on a hot barbecue or in a cast-iron grill pan to achieve a charred and smoky finish. Remove from the heat, allow them to cool, then chop the onions finely.

Setting aside a small handful for garnish, slice the remaining raw spring onions thinly.

Add the olive oil to a saucepan over low heat and gently sauté the sliced spring onions for a few minutes until soft. Add the chicken stock to the pan and cook for a few minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the sliced, charred spring onions and half the chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the mixture to a blender. Blitz until you have a textured purée, then blend in the toasted sesame oil. Set aside in the refrigerator.

For the prawn mix, put the prawns, ginger, garlic, one of the chillies, the egg white, soy sauce and sesame oil in a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth mixture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the remaining chives. Stir to mix well.

Spread the prawn mixture evenly onto the eight fingers of bread. Press the sesame seeds onto the prawn part of each slice and shake off the excess.

Heat the canola oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180°C, using a thermometer to check the temperature. Fry one toast at a time for around 3–5 minutes or until you have a crisp and golden-brown crust. Remove the toast carefully with tongs and reserve it on a rack in a warm oven while you cook the remaining slices.

Serve two fingers per person with the spring onion purée and the reserved sliced spring onion and remaining chilli, sliced.

Wine match: 2016 Cockfighter’s Ghost Single Vineyard Chardonnay
This chardonnay works perfectly with this dish because it complements the savoury and nutty flavours of the sesame without overpowering the delicate prawn flavours. – Winemaker Xanthe Hatcher

Cubano: barbecued marinated pork shoulder, emmental & dill pickle
Makes 4

The ‘Cuban’ sandwich originated in Florida, probably catering to the tastes of local immigrant workers. There seem to be many variations, but essentially this is a ham and cheese toastie, and this is my version.

Pro tips: Marinate the meat for the roasted marinated pork shoulder overnight and have the meat in the oven the next day by 10am at the latest. The meat can then be enjoyed for dinner and the leftover pieces refrigerated, and then used for barbecued Cuban sangas the next day. I have used baguettes, but you could use a brioche bun or try to find a real ‘Cubano’ loaf, which is a soft, oval-shaped baguette.
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus overnight marinating. Toasting method: Cast-iron sandwich grill pan and oven.
Bread: Four Cuban loaves or individual baguettes, cut in half lengthways.

200g mayonnaise (store-bought Kewpie mayonnaise is fine)
2 garlic cloves, grated
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
Salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cos lettuce leaves
8 dill pickles, sliced lengthways
12 slices emmental or gruyère
American mustard
12 slices roasted marinated pork shoulder, lightly charred on a hot barbecue

Roasted marinated pork shoulder (makes 16 slices)
2kg pork shoulder, upper half (also known as Boston butt – you need to pre-order this from your butcher)
500g pineapple flesh, cut into chunks
then blended to a coarse consistency
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
3 tbsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted
4 garlic cloves, finely grated
3 large green chillies, cut lengthways, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeños, cut lengthways, seeded and chopped
Juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes
40g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
⅓ cup light olive oil

For the roasted marinated pork shoulder, remove the excess fat from the pork and use a sharp knife to score diagonal cuts in the top of the meat.

Combine the remaining pork ingredients in a bowl then rub the mixture all over the pork.

Transfer everything to a glass bowl and again massage the meat well with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day, remove the pork from the fridge and preheat the oven to 150°C.

Drain the marinade from the pork and place the meat in a roasting tin. Cook the pork in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the tin from the oven and cover with foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 110°C and cook for a further 7 hours, or until the meat is super tender. Slice as needed and, if desired, barbecue each slice to obtain char marks before using in toasties or sandwiches.

For the toastie, place the cast-iron grill pan and lid together and heat them for 5 minutes on the stove top over medium heat. Lift the lid, open up the baguette and place it on the grill. Toast for 1 minute to bar-mark the inside of the bun, then remove from the heat. Repeat with the remaining baguettes.

Combine the mayonnaise with the grated garlic, chopped coriander and salt and pepper to taste and spread this liberally on one side of each baguette. Fill the sandwiches first with the lettuce and then the barbecued pork, followed by the pickles and the cheese slices. Finish with as much American mustard as you like and close the sandwiches.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lift the lid on the cast-iron grill pan and place a baguette inside. Top with the hot lid and press down to squeeze the sandwich shut. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 6 minutes to toast and melt the cheese. Remove from the oven. Repeat with the remaining baguettes and then serve.

Wine match: 2016 Cockfighter’s Ghost Single Vineyard Sangiovese

The spice and flavour of the pork needs a flavoursome wine to work in harmony with it. The sangiovese has plenty of bright fruit flavour and nice, fresh acidity to enhance the dish and not dominate the flavours. – Winemaker Xanthe Hatcher

White chocolate & strawberry toast
Makes 4

Simply put, this open toast is silky, smooth, sweet and very moreish. The white chocolate cream is easy to make and the perfect foil to the concentrated flavour of the strawberries.

Pro tips: The strawberries take on a more intense flavour and the jammy syrup that comes out of them is absolutely delicious. Brioche is the go here and the slices should ideally be bar-marked on a barbecue or in a chargrill pan before serving.
Prep time: 40 minutes (plus cooling)
Toasting method: Barbecue/chargrill pan and oven.
Bread: 4 slices brioche loaf.

500g strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tbsp caster sugar

White chocolate cream, makes 360g
120g white chocolate, melted
240ml thickened cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the strawberries in a non-stick baking tin. Sprinkle the sugar over the strawberries and place the tin in the oven. Cook for 25 minutes, then remove the strawberries from the oven. Leave the strawberries to cool in the tin.

For the white chocolate cream, put the melted chocolate in a bowl. Put ⅓ cup of the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, then pour the cream over the melted chocolate. Leave for 30 seconds before stirring the cream and chocolate together well using a spatula. Stir in the remaining cold cream. Transfer the mixture to a covered container and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour before using.

Toast the brioche slices on a barbecue or in a chargrill pan to bar-mark the bread. Set aside to cool.

Whip the white chocolate cream to thick ribbon stage with an electric mixer or hand whisk before using.

Place the toast on serving plates and spoon 3 tablespoons of white chocolate cream onto the toast. Add the warm roasted strawberries and serve with grated white chocolate as garnish.

Wine match: 2015 Cockfighter’s Ghost Reserve Moscato
The bright and fresh fruit flavours in this moscato don't overwhelm the strawberries, while its sweetness complements the dish and cuts through the rich white chocolate. – Winemaker Xanthe Hatcher

This is an edited extract from Chefs Eat Toasties Too by Darren Purchese, published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $29.99 and now on Cooked. Photography ©Brendan Homan.

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