On my very first trip to London, my husband Ted, who had lived there for a time, introduced me to the ploughman's (plow man's) lunch. Every pub serves its own variation. The constants are a few slices of crusty bread, a hunk of good, sharp, English Cheddar cheese, and a bit of tart fruit chutney, to which sausage, ham, apples or other treats might be added. (Don't forget a pint of beer or ale on draught, too.) In the pubs, you're served a plate of individual elements to combine in any way that tempts you. During these next few crazy-busy weeks, with holiday preparations in full swing, these ploughman's crisps make a satisfying lunch or light supper, with very little work on the part of the cook. They're also a great savory appetizer nibble for your cookie exchange party, or football Sunday. Use your favorite homemade or store-bought chutney, or try one of our recipes.
Quick and easy ploughman's crisps
From the pantry, you'll need: olive oil, chutney (homemade or store-bought), fresh black pepper.
Serves 4; can be multiplied.
1 small loaf of French bread (demi-baguette)
Extra virgin olive oil (1-2 tsp)
1/4 lb extra sharp Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of your favorite chutney; I like Green (or red) tomato and apple chutney, Dried cranberry and pear chutney, or Pear and pluot chutney with raisins and ginger
Fresh black pepper
Using a serrated knife, slice the bread on an angle into 1/4-inch thick slices.
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over low heat. When the oil is hot, add the slices of bread. Toast for 2 minutes, then turn.
Top each slice with cheese. Cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes, until the cheese just begins to soften.
Remove bread from the pan, and top each with a bit of chutney and a sprinkle of black pepper.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
More quick and easy appetizer recipes:
Roasted red pepper and garlic hummus crostini, from The Perfect Pantry
Tomato and goat cheese bruschetta, from The Perfect Pantry
Roasted grape, blue cheese, and honey crostini, from Two Peas & Their Pod
Sweet potato tahini crostini, from Love & Lemons
Shaved asparagus and goat cheese crostini, from Naturally Ella
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