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This dish was originally known as Welsh rabbit, for reasons that aren’t exactly clear but that most agree were intended to imply rudeness to the Welsh. During the late 18th century, derogatory terms such as rabbit became frowned upon in polite company and the name evolved into rarebit, meaning a choice morsel. Today, rarebit has come to mean tasty morsels of bread covered in a mustardy cheese sauce. It is often made with larger pieces of bread, but here we use toasted baguette slices, making this an ideal passed hors d’oeuvre at your next cocktail party.
Game plan: We found it was easier to spread the cheese sauce after it had cooled completely, so if you have time, make the sauce up to 4 days ahead, cover, and refrigerate for easier spreading.
For a slacker solution, don’t toast the baguette slices before you top them with cheese sauce.
Beverage pairing: Brasserie Dupont Foret Organic Saison Ale, Belgium. A dry white wine would be nice with these bites, but they’re perfect for a beer since there’s beer in the sauce. This organic Belgian ale is alive with the complex flavors of a flowering summer meadow, and its combination of brightness and richness makes it a lusty companion for the rarebit.
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