This tomato rarebit recipe came from a British book, “Delicious Vegetarian Cooking” by Ivan Baker. I have a 1972 edition which is a direct reprint of the original book published in 1954. According to the author, “This book should do much to dispel the misconception people have about vegetarian cookery – that it lacks variety and is not very tasty.”
Original text from the book is italicized. My notes are not italicized.
- Sprinkle 6 halved tomatoes with oil and lemon… – I interpreted “6 halved” as three tomatoes halved into six pieces. However, I had plenty of rarebit for six more halves. I premixed a few tablespoons of oil and lemon and used pastry brush to apply to tomato halves
- Then with grated raw onion and bake lightly for 5 minutes – I preheated oven to 350 and heated tomatoes for about 7-8 minutes
- Take from oven, spread Rarebit mixture on them – see recipe below. I hand “smooshed” the rarebit on the tops of the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle with cheese and a few fine breadcrumbs, dot with butter, brown quickly under the griller. – I placed under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes
- Serve on rounds of hot buttered toast – I served on squares of hot buttered wheat toast.
2 oz grated cheese – approx 1/4 cup
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 oz butter – approx 1 Tablespoon
1/4 pint milk – approx 1/2 cup
pinch each: salt, pepper, nutmeg
- Melt butter in saucepan – Unfortunately, I only had Smart Balance Light on hand. I really do not recommend this product as it doesn’t really melt that well.
- Stir in cheese and milk and cook gently till the cheese begins to melt. – I kept saucepan on medium heat, stirred cheese and milk until it became a saucy consistency. I used a milder cheese blend but a sharp cheddar would probably be even better.
- Add the breadcrumbs and seasonings, cook gently 2 minutes more – The breadcrumbs quickly soaked up the liquid and was still dry. I added a little more milk to make the mixture a little more pliable.
- Spread over savouries to be finished in the oven or under griller till lightly browned. – See above
In the end, the crusty, cheesy topping is a nice counterbalance to the hot juicy tomato. I’d probably use a sharper cheese and perhaps add a little bit of beer or ale into the rarebit mixture. At first, I almost skipped the wheat toast, but was happy with it as the tomato juice moistened the bread even more.
My other taster found the tomato rarebit to be a substantial and filling meal or a “workman’s alternative to a ploughman’s lunch.”