A good rarebit or rabbit, for they both mean the same thing: a mixture of cheese and something else spread on toast, and have nothing whatsoever to do with small fluffy hopping animals. There are all sorts of rarebits you can make: but really, since its a British “dish” (often known as “Welsh Rarebit/Rabbit–the word rarebit self-descriptive, and the word rabbit referring to a poor mans rabbit, ie no rabbit at all, just cheese), you should use British cheese. At this moment I have to mention Welsh cheeses are amazing. Not necessary in THIS dish, but they ARE necessary in your life! So if/when you have a chance, be sure to seek out Welsh cheeses. Especially goats cheese. Okay, back to our regular programming…..

I like a combination of strong, mature Cheddar plus seomthing else that is languishing in my fridge. Here I used Leicestershire or was it Double Gloustershire? You might want to add a bit of Stilton too or even goat. The point is: rich, mild, and delicious with the oniony ramps.

The toast is a crucial decision when it comes to a rarebit: “English” muffin (just plain muffin if you happen to live in England) is good; sour whole grain bread is great too, like a pain levain sort of thing. Here I used a dense, sour Polish rye, hand-sliced relatively thinly, and toasted before meeting the cheese. That way you get a great crunch from crisply toasted rye, as you bite through that layer of melted cheese and the austerity of the rye bread balances beautifu with the rich melty layer. Its almost like a ballet of tastes and textures all in one little open-faced sandwich; or two, if you eat them both.

Usually a rarebit/rabbit is made by melting the cheese/s with a small amount of beer; but i find that wine or even cider is good instead. Or, as in this rarebit/rabbit, no liquid at all, and instead just chop up the cheeses, chop up the ramps, and mix em together with a little mayo, Polish mustard, and garlic. The garlic brings out the allium-ness of the tamps.

I sprinkled a little hot paprika on top before broiling, but i think it was just that I was feeling the need to balance my red and green: If you don’t sprinkle with paprika, add a droplet or two of Tabasco or other pepper sauce.

Ramp Rarebit
Per person if you’re eating two, serves two if you’re more abstemious and not quite so greedy as I was this morning
About 3 ounces in total: Mature Cheddar, Double Gloustershire, Leicstershire, or other cheeses as delicious (ie whatever you have on hand), diced small or coarsely chopped
Big handful ramps, coarsely chopped
1-2 tablespoons mayonaise
2 teaspoons mild French Dijon type mustard or a mildish but full flavoured mustard from Poland
Either 1/2 clove garlic, chopped or several sprinkles dried garlic powder/granules
2 slices relatively thinly sliced dense rye bread or two halves English muffin
In a bowl combine the cheeses with the ramps, mayonasie, mustard, and garlic or garlic powder. Mix well.
Broil the bread of muffin on one side until light brown then turn over and broil/toast the second side.
Remove from the heat and divide up the mixture, heaping half on each slice of toast. Back under the broiler and broil until the cheese melts.
Eat right away.

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