Like ‘mock turtle soup’, which has seen neither hide nor hare (!) of a turtle, Welsh Rabbit (as it was probably once called) has never been anywhere near a bunny. Now, as Fogg and his companions pass Wales on their journey towards Liverpool with the mail, it seems the perfect cheesy comfort food for an uncomfortable few hours. It’s a sacred snack — but you can trust
On a low heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux. Heat the ale, but do not let it boil, and add it to the mix, stirring gently and constantly over a low heat.
Melt the cheese in a bowl placed over a pan of boiling water. When melted, pour into the mixture. Stir once to amalgamate, then remove from the heat.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, both mustards, the egg yolk, salt and pepper, then transfer to a food processor and blitz until the rarebit mixture has formed an emulsion. Transfer to a bowl, allow to cool, then refrigerate.
For the accompanying vinegar, put the wine into a stainless steel pan over the heat and bring to the boil. Add the garlic, herbs and peppercorns and boil rapidly for 3—4 minutes. Take off the heat and strain through a fine sieve. When the liquid has cooled down, add 25ml/1fl oz of white wine vinegar to every 100ml/4fl oz of the wine mixture and set aside.
Heat a chargrill, or preheat your oven to 225°C/425°F/ gas mark 7. Slice your sourdough about 2.5cm/1 inch thick — you will probably want 1 or 2 slices per person, depending on appetites. Brush both sides of each slice with melted butter, and chargrill or toast in the oven for 5 minutes.
Take your Welsh rarebit mixture out of the fridge and melt 40—50g per slice in a small pan. Put your sourdough slices on a baking tray and pour over the rarebit mixture. Cook in the oven for 4—5 minutes, until golden brown.
Sprinkle a few grains of fleurs de sel on top, and serve with the garlicky vinegar on the side, preferably café style in a vinegar shaker.
© 2012 All rights reserved. Published by Atlantic Books.