Borough Market Toastie

  • Serves 1
  • Easy

This tasty toastie recipe from London's Borough Market is easy-midweek meal for a chilly autumn evening

Borough Market toastie

One of the most satisfying ways to celebrate freshly baked bread is to sandwich it around world-class ingredients. And then to toast it.

Cheese is obligatory; ideally a combination of one that melts well and another that packs a powerful punch. But that dairy needs another savoury item to provide interest beyond the first bite. This could be a cured or cooked meat, or a thinly sliced but still punchy vegetable, like onions, leeks or fennel.

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Condiments are essential, be it a piquant or sweet pickle or conserve, or something hot and spicy from Pimento Hill. Finally, the toastie must be cooked with care – compressed from time to time, and fried at a pace that ensures the outside is crisp and golden, and the centre molten.

To prescribe just one combination of ingredients would not do justice to the possibilities, so following the main recipe are a few ideas to inspire when out shopping or raiding the fridge.



  • slices of sourdough 2, 1–2cm-thick
  • Butter
  • Cheese 60g, ideally a 50/50 combination of melting and strong, both coarsely grated
  • Sliced cured meat 20g, or 40g sliced cooked meat (optional)
  • Onions, spring onions or leeks 15g, finely sliced (optional)
  • Condiment of choice


  • Step 1

    Butter what will become the external sides of each piece of bread. Build the sandwich, with a sprinkle of cheese on the base first, then the meat or alliums, followed by the remaining cheese, then add pickles or spread the condiment onto the inside of the top slice, finally pressing that on top.

  • Step 2

    Place a heavy-based frying pan over a low medium heat and allow it to warm up for a minute.

  • Step 3

    Transfer the sandwich to the frying pan and cook very gently, regularly pushing down on the sandwich with a fish slice or palette knife. After 2 minutes, some but not all of the cheese will have melted and the base of the bread will be browning. Carefully flip the toastie over and repeat the gentle frying and pressing for 2 minutes more. Repeat, frying both sides for another 2 minutes each, so that the cheese and fats are oozing out of the sandwich and the bread is golden and crisp.

  • Step 4

    Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 1–2 minutes before eating – the centre will be hotter than the sun.

Other possible combinations

- stilton (or other strong blue), Fontina and kimchi

- ’Nduja, honey and mozzarella

- cooked ham, raclette, Comté and mustard

- cheddar, Ogleshield, leeks and chutney

- soft-rind white cheese, turkey and cranberry sauce

- bresaola, tapenade and emmental on rye bread

- fennel salami, Umbrico (drunken cheese) and dill pickles

- tallegio, roast peppers, spring onions and chives

Recipe from The Borough Market Cookbook by Ed Smith, published by Hodder & Stoughton, £25. Image by Issy Croker.

Read more recipes by Borough Market chefs, writers and cooks at