Up your toasted sandwich game with Darren Purchese's toasties with a cheffy twist

Cheese on toast with chorizo.
Cheese on toast with chorizo. Photo: Brendan Homan

The Burch & Purchese chef shares three posh toasted sandwich recipes: Cubano, Spanish-style ham and cheese, and a twice-cooked cheese on toast with chorizo.

Jamon, manchego, tomato and olive oil toasted baguette

I have travelled in Spain extensively, both working and holidaying there many times. I absolutely love the place, people, climate and especially the food. Whenever I am in Spain I stuff myself with tomato on bread with olive oil for breakfast, and I usually have a ham, tomato and cheese baguette to keep me going in the afternoon. This is my version of the two combined.

Spanish sandwich: Pan con tomate meets ham, cheese and tomato.
Spanish sandwich: Pan con tomate meets ham, cheese and tomato. Photo: Brendan Homan

Pro tips: Use the best-quality jamon you can afford. The real secret and thrill to this sandwich is the big chunks of tomato and the garlic aroma from rubbing the toast with a cut clove. Use the ripest and juiciest tomatoes you can get your hands on.

Toasting method: Toasted sandwich press

Ingredients

Darren Purchese.
Darren Purchese. Photo: Brendan Homan

4 mini baguettes, sliced lengthways

80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil (Purchese recommends Arbequina)

2 garlic cloves, halved

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8 small ripe truss tomatoes, halved

12 thin slices jamon (preferably jamon iberico de bellota)

12 slices manchego

Chefs Eat Toasties Too by Darren Purchese.
Chefs Eat Toasties Too by Darren Purchese. Photo: Hardie Grant

salt flakes

Method

1. Heat a toasted sandwich press. Drizzle some of the olive oil inside a baguette and place it on the sandwich press to lightly toast the inside. Remove the baguette and gently rub the toasted surface with the cut garlic pieces. Repeat with the remaining three baguettes.

2. Use a teaspoon to scoop the seeds and flesh from the ripe tomatoes and spread it on the inside of each baguette. Add four tomato halves per baguette, then three slices of jamon, three slices of manchego and some salt flakes.

3. Close the sandwiches and rub some olive oil on the outside of each baguette. Toast the baguettes in the sandwich press until crispy on the outside. Remove, cut the baguettes in half and serve.

Makes 4

Cubano Images from cookbook 'Chefs east toasties too' by Darren Purchese (Hardie Grant June 2017). Images by Brendan Homan. Only for recipe extract for goodfood.com.au (not to be published before July 1 2017) Recipe names Jane Holroyd

Cubano sandwich with slow-cooked pork and pickles. Photo: Brendan Homan

Cubano with barbecued marinated pork shoulder, emmental and dill pickle

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.

Toasting method: Cast-iron grill pan and oven.

Ingredients

4 Cuban loaves or 4 individual baguettes, cut in half lengthways

200g mayonnaise (store-bought Kewpie mayonnaise is fine)

2 garlic cloves, grated

4 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

salt flakes

freshly ground black pepper

8 cos lettuce leaves

8 dill pickles, sliced lengthways

12 slices emmental or gruyere

American mustard

12 slices roasted marinated pork shoulder (see below), lightly charred on a hot barbecue or grill (optional)

For the roasted marinated pork shoulder

2kg pork shoulder, upper half (also known as Boston butt – you may 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 jalapenos, cut lengthways, seeded and chopped

juice and finely grated zest of 2 limes

40g fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

80ml (⅓ cup) light olive oil

(makes 16 slices)

Method

1. 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.

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

3. 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.

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

5. Drain the marinade from the pork and place the meat in a roasting tin. Cook the pork in the oven for one hour. Remove the tin from the oven and cover with foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 110C and cook for a further seven 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.

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

7. 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.

8. Preheat the oven to 180C. 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 six minutes to toast and melt the cheese. Remove from the oven. Repeat with the remaining baguettes, then serve.

Makes 4

My cheese on toast with chorizo. Images from cookbook 'Chefs east toasties too' by Darren Purchese (Hardie Grant June 2017). Images by Brendan Homan. Only for recipe extract for goodfood.com.au (not to be published before July 1 2017) Recipe names Jane Holroyd

Twice-cooked cheese on toast. Photo: Brendan Homan

Cheese on toast with chorizo, tomato, chilli and coriander

Hi, my name's Darren and I'm a cheese-on-toast-aholic. I eat it around once a week. I've lost control. I need help getting my life back.

Pro tip: I developed the double-layer grilling technique over a long period of many Sunday nights of research. I give you…my life's work. *Takes a bow*

Toasting method: Grill

Ingredients

8 slices soy and linseed sourdough loaf

1 dried chorizo sausage, peeled and sliced 5mm thick

120g gruyere, grated

4 ripe truss tomatoes, halved and flesh and seeds scooped out

4 spring onions, white part only, thinly sliced

80g mozzarella, torn into chunks

140g cheddar, grated (Purchese suggests Montogomery)

60ml (¼ cup) worcestershire sauce

a few drops of sriracha sauce or other similiar hot chilli sauce

120g marinated goat's cheese, crumbled (Purchese recommends Meredith Dairy)

freshly ground black pepper

½ bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked

Method

1. Preheat a grill to hot. Cook the chorizo slices in a saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes on each side. Leave the chorizo in the pan to cool.

2. Lightly toast the eight slices of bread and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

3. Evenly distribute the gruyere on each slice of toast, then add the chorizo slices. (Reserve the chorizo oil in the pan.) Place the tray under the grill and melt the cheese.

4. Remove the tray from the grill and add the tomato flesh and seeds followed by the spring onion. Again place the tray under the grill and cook for a minute or two to warm the ingredients and start to brown the cheese.

5. Remove the tray from the grill and add the torn mozzarella and grated cheddar to each slice. Add the worcestershire sauce, sriracha sauce and spoon the chorizo oil from the pan over the cheese. Again place the tray under the grill and cook to melt and brown the cheese on the toast. Remove from the grill, add the crumbled goat's cheese, pepper and coriander leaves and serve.

Makes 4

This is an edited extract from Chefs Eat Toasties Too by Darren Purchese, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $29.99, and is available in stores nationally.