There are few things more comforting in this world than a cup of tea and buttered toast — especially when the tea is hot and the toast is fresh and spread with delectable toast toppings.
I adore toast. I love it plain with butter or topped with tuna, a slice of tomato, and a slice of aged cheddar melted to perfection. I swoon at the thought of toast slathered with peanut butter and honey, or, my grandfather’s favorite, toast with peanut butter and brown sugar.
Here are a few other combinations that we are rather fond of in our house.
Toast with Ricotta, Honey, and Fresh Thyme Leaves
You really can’t go wrong with ricotta cheese. It doesn’t seem to matter what you put it in, or on, the result is always delicious. Ricotta on toast is no exception. When it’s drizzled with golden honey and sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves, it transforms from good to sublime.
I stayed in an Italian farmhouse once, and the proprietor served us homemade bread topped with ricotta and homemade jam. It was utterly divine. Try other fresh herbs such as rosemary leaves or finely chopped sage leaves. Somehow they go beautifully with the creamy ricotta and sweet honey or jam.
With so many flavors and textures going on with this toast, serve it with a simple black tea
Toast with Sardines
One of my favorite books when I was little was “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis. In it he describes an afternoon tea in the snug cave of Tumnus the Faun where Tumnus and Lucy ate toast with sardines. Sardines weren’t something we ate at home, so it wasn’t until I was an adult that I got to indulge in this childhood fantasy. I wasn’t disappointed. Somehow the oily, strong-flavored sardines are absolutely delicious atop thick, crunchy toast with creamy butter. That C.S. Lewis certainly knew what he was talking about.
For sardines with toast, choose a tea with citrus notes to cut through the natural oiliness of the fish.
Toast with Garnet Plum Paste and Shaved Parmesan
Although homemade jam is always a welcome addition to toast, there’s something especially rich and decadent about a luscious fruit paste. Its intensity of flavor pairs wonderfully with strong, dry cheeses such as Parmesan, Romano, or an aged Cheddar. Fruit pastes come in a variety of flavors such as the quintessential favorite, quince, or new ones like Garnet Plum.
You can also try fruit pastes that combine fruit and nuts, such as apricot and hazelnut or peach and almond. Whichever one you choose, spread it lavishly atop hot, buttered toast and layer with thinly shaved slices of your favorite dry, aged cheese. Fruit pastes also go well with strong cheeses. I love plum paste with a heady Blue cheese or Cambazola, and it’s downright marvelous with Brie and Camembert or a thick slice of Fontina or Havarti.
Choose a mellow tea for this toast, such as vanilla.