Another South African recipe. South Africans are well known for a good braai – this is a BBQ event – usually with a few different varieties of meat, lots of salads, and a side of these little sandwiches. Traditionally they are made with cheese, tomato and onion, but nowadays we make all different versions of them (scroll down for a Greek variation provided below).
When I was little, it was my job to tie the sandwiches together with thread (that’s right, thread used for sewing). I hated it so much that as an adult we use a grill basket, so no flashbacks of buttery hands tying thread.
You will need 2 slices of bread per sandwich (I use thinly sliced traditional white from our local bakery). Butter or margarine the outsides of the bread, not the insides. I give the grill basket a quick spray with non stick spray, then place the bread slice buttered side out.
Top with VERY thinly sliced white onion *, then a slice of cheese (cheddar preferable, I used the Cracker Barrel marble slices here). Then some thinly sliced tomatoes. Salt and Pepper the tomatoes, or use a sprinkle of a good quality seasoning salt. (And as advised by my cousin Elsabe living in Paarl, SA – put some chutney on there as well!). Then put the top slice on (buttered side out).
Put the top of your grill basket on, and get it to the BBQ. You want to squash them down a little in the basket so they stay together well.
BBQ on medium heat, turning frequently, until golden and toasted looking.
My favourite way to eat these are actually cold for breakfast the next day. Just pop them into a plastic bag in the fridge. Yum!
*The taste of the raw onion is what gives these sandwiches their unique flavour. However, if you are like my husband, and the raw onion hurts your tummy, soak the onion slices for a few minutes in vinegar. I used red wine vinegar this time, it leaves their crunch and flavour, but ‘cooks’ them a little. As a bonus you get a nice pickled flavour.
For a delicious, Greek twist, try the following:
Follow the same process, but instead of the raw onion, saute onion and bell pepper slices in a pan with a drizzle of EVOO. Layer the vegetables with the tomatoes, cheddar, then a crumble of feta. Put a sprinkle of oregano (or Greek Seasoning) on the tomatoes. This is a delicious twist to a classic favourite.