Make Ahead

Box Car Willie and Friends Rarebit

July 29, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I love heirloom tomatoes but I never buy them at the store. I used to but they are expensive and every time when I got them home and tasted them they were flavorless. I don't know why, they seem ripe, but they just don't have any taste. On the other hand garden tomatoes, of almost any kind, tend to be delicious. That is my spiel, hint, hint nudge, nudge to any grocery that may read this if I am going to pay more make sure the tomatoes taste great. Moving on. I like tomatoes with some acid to cut the sweetness and Box Car Willie's do that, so do Wisconsin 55's but the 55's are not heirloom. I had some yellow tomatoes to use so I threw then into the mix, hence the name of the recipe. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

This is the perfect rainy summer day dish: Oozy cheese sauce over crispy prosciutto and tender tomatoes. It seems like this would take a while to make, but it comes together very quickly. The recipe didn't specify, so I used fresh breadcrumbs, not dried. If the cheese sauce starts to separate, just give it a good whisking and things should smooth right out. I made mine in little gratin dishes which was a great idea, and we used some bread to sop up all the cheesy, juicy goodness in the bottom of the dishes. - Savorykitchen —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 12 each, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices of tomato
  • 4 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 1 cup lager beer
  • 2 cups grated fontina
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Turn on your broiler and place an oven wrack 8 inches below it. Place 4 eight inch ramekins onto a sheet tray.
  2. Place three slices of tomato into each 8 inch ramekin.
  3. Place the beer into a sauce pan and place it over medium heat. Add the worcestershire sauce, Dijon and hot sauce stirring to combine and then bringing it to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese. Stir to melt the cheese and then add the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Once it has thickened add the butter and stir it until it has melted. Reduce the heat to as low as it will go. if it seems to thick add more beer to thin it out.
  5. Slide the tomatoes into the oven and set a timer for four minutes. At the end of four minutes remove the sheet tray from the oven and place a piece of prosciutto across the tops of the tomatoes.
  6. Place back into the oven and crisp the prosciutto, about another 4 minutes. Once again remove from the oven.
  7. Spoon the sauce in equal amounts over the prosciutto and tomatoes and go back to the oven with it. Broil until brown and bubbly. Another 4 minutes or so. You may need to rotate the tray in order to brown them evenly so keep an eye on them. This dish will be extremely hot so let it rest for about 3-5 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • lastnightsdinner
  • mrslarkin
  • MrsWheelbarrow
  • dymnyno

33 Reviews

AntoniaJames October 15, 2010
Wow, this is good! To get back to the point about thickening without the bread crumbs . . . I made a barley beurre manié, toasting the flour first. Good move. Did not have fontina, but 4 parts manchego, 1 part smoked gouda and 1 part sharp cheddar worked well instead . . . . used a Franziskaner, thinking of Oktoberfest and the fun I had in Munich a few years ago, about this time. Served the rarebit to Mr. T with yeast biscuits studded with bacon and thyme (recipe to follow), inspired by a Hungarian recipe for crackling biscuits. Roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, and an amazing autumn salad (recipe also to follow) on the side. Dinner is always good here, but tonight, it was exceptional! ;o)
AntoniaJames October 14, 2010
Mr Hirschfeld, if you were to serve this to someone who could not eat wheat -- but gluten is not a problem -- what would you use instead of the bread crumbs? Making this tonight, I hope. ;o)
thirschfeld October 14, 2010
I have found a new product, peanut flour that they say is good to thicken things but I have not tried it yet. How do you usually thicken things? Do you have rye crackers? If rye is ok you could crumble them and use them.
AntoniaJames October 14, 2010
I've seen that peanut flour too and have been thinking about trying it. My usual alternate ingredients for thickening are, depending on the recipe, (i) potato flakes, which I use often in baking bread, so I always have them on hand; (ii) barley flour and (iii) quick oats. Now, rye crackers. That's interesting. I'm not crazy about them for eating, but I can see how they might be great for this, and for other applications. Thanks! And stay tuned . . . will be posting an interesting recipe most likely tomorrow, for something you'll like, to be served with this rarebit. ;o)
lastnightsdinner August 7, 2010
Your rarebit looks delicious, but I have to say I have flatware envy! Love the silverware - I'm such a geek for that kind of stuff :)
mrslarkin August 7, 2010
Yum. Thanks for another great recipe, thirschfeld. Will be trying this when my oven gets fixed.
thirschfeld August 7, 2010
MrsWheelbarrow August 7, 2010
I just bought the most gorgeous aged fontina from my favorite cheesemaker because this recipe Must Be Made. I dreamt of it last night, Tom. You're brilliant.
Lizthechef August 7, 2010
This mouth-watering recipe kind of reminds me of your lovely tomato pudding...
thirschfeld August 7, 2010
I hope you enjoy it and I am glad I am not the only one who dreams of food. LOL
MrsWheelbarrow August 7, 2010
By the way, have you ever grown Kellogg's Breakfast tomato? That's my favorite.
dymnyno August 7, 2010
I had a dear friend who used to make rarebit for me....I miss him and his wife. I haven't had it since....your recipe sounds so good (like all your recipes!) that I am going to make yours. And, your photographs are appetizing. (again, as always!)
thirschfeld August 7, 2010
One of the things I like most about food are the memories it evokes. Very few things have that ability. I hope you enjoy it and thanks.
toast August 6, 2010
Wisconsin 55's are definitely an heirloom variety.
thirschfeld August 7, 2010
Thank you toast. It is funny I go to a small nursery near my home and they have a table of heirlooms and then another with the rest of their tomatoes. I buy a couple of heirloom and then, until now, some of what I thought where not. The 55's are always so prolific and somewhat disease resistant that I never questioned that they could be heirloom. I just looked up the variety on Tomatofest and they do list it as an heirloom. I am so glad you pointed this out. Thank you for the correction.
Lizthechef August 6, 2010
Slamming creative cooks (or any cook on the site) is very un-food52. Chef Tom has inspired me and I always look forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve. He is generous with his praise for those of us struggling to match his beautiful recipes. Bravo, Tom.
TheWimpyVegetarian August 11, 2010
Hear, hear!
Hilarybee July 30, 2010
This looks so incredible. This could be the recipe to quell any potential revolutions for turning the house into a sauna with my excessive baking.
nannydeb July 30, 2010
I made this last night and it was fabulous! I cut the recipe in half, like an idiot. Both of us would have eaten another serving!
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
thanks I am so glad you liked it. I should of warned you not to halve it.
AntoniaJames July 29, 2010
Yummmmmm. Have never put lager in rarebit before . . . or used fontina. Everything about this recipe is brilliant. Like all your recipes. So glad you posted this. I'm making it this weekend, maybe changing up the cheese according to what's already in my fridge. Stay tuned . . . . ;o)
thirschfeld July 30, 2010
You can definitely use what's in the fridge but use a yeasty beer it adds a lot to it.
AntoniaJames August 4, 2010
What kind of lager did you use, by the way? I'm not sure that what we have on hand is really yeasty enough. (I'm not a beer afficionado, by any stretch of the imagination, so I need a bit of help here . . . . .) Thank you. I'm so looking forward to making this, very likely tomorrow, when both sons are back in town. ;o)
thirschfeld August 4, 2010
I used Pabst but I any non lite beer would be good. Miller High Life, nothing fancy.
drbabs July 29, 2010
Love the name...I agree with you about the tomatoes.
thirschfeld July 29, 2010
Thanks drbabs.
Lizthechef July 29, 2010
I've been waiting for your recipe, and you did not disappoint me. Thumbs up!
thirschfeld July 29, 2010
thanks LTC. I hope you try it.
nannydeb July 29, 2010
Sounds delicious! I'm making this tonight!
thirschfeld July 29, 2010
Thanks. Let me know what you think.
Sagegreen July 29, 2010
The name is a great as this recipe looks!
thirschfeld July 29, 2010
Thanks, I have been eyeing the Double Dutch Choc. Buttermilkshake.
Sagegreen July 29, 2010
Your recipes have such style! I am glad you are interested in that drink. No one has mentioned it yet.