December 15, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday Recipe: Broiled Green Onion and Cheddar Cheese Puffs

While it’s definitely the season to be jolly, we’ve also reached one of the best times of the year to throw a cocktail party, put on a lavish fete, or simply invite a few cherished friends over for a cozy evening of hearty food and rousing conversation.

Earlier this week my dear sister and I were chatting about foods that might work well for an upcoming wine and appetizer party that she’s holding in a few days. My mind instantly raced to thoughts of soothing, earthy, rich (yet in no way overpowering) autumn and winter flavours, such as dishes featuring root vegetables, warm spices (nutmeg, cloves, paprika, cinnamon), dried fruits, nuts, dense, flavourful breads (walnut, pumpkin, rye); grains (wild rice, barley, buckwheat), fennel, figs, apples, and (given its natural affinity with wine) cheese.

Reflecting on some of my favourite tried and true appetizer recipes (many of which have a delightful vintage feel to the ingredients they include), I knew that I had to share this simple, scrumptious, easy-as-can-be recipe for green onion infused cheese puffs with my sister – and with my readers, as I know many of you have your own upcoming parties to plan menus for, too.

This recipe is wonderfully fast to throw together, can be multiplied to your heart’s content (though you may want to prepare it in batches, as it really is best when served straight from the broiler). You can vary the cheese to suit your tastes and menu (just stick with a firm cheese that has a bit of flavour to it – fontina, gouda, emmental, or gruyere would all make splendid choices if you wanted to try something other than Swiss or cheddar cheese), as well as play with various seasonings and additions (just keep the overall weight of anything you add to the mixture somewhat light, so that the mixture can still poof up under the broiler).

{Yum, yum, yum cheddar cheese pairs magnificently with apple pie – as shown in this vintage ad from 1956 – and it also takes center stage in today’s recipe, where it’s paired with egg whites, green onions, bell peppers, and light seasonings to create a winning holiday party appetizer. Vintage Armour Cheese ad via Vintage Ads and Stuff.}

This classic dish (which is somewhat redolent of another fabulous retro cheese and bread recipe: welsh rarebit) makes a great dinner (or wine tasting) party starter, as well as smashing first course or light lunch when paired with a salad or soup. Give it a try this holiday season and I bet it become one of your go-to Christmas party appetizers as well! :)

Broiled Green Onion and Cheddar Cheese Puffs


• ½ cup mayonnaise (can use eggless vegan mayo, if desired)

• 2/3 cup shredded Swiss or aged cheddar cheese

• ¼ cup chopped green onion (or fresh chives or leeks)

• ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper (optional, but it really adds a lovely crunch)

• ½ tsp worcestershire sauce (could use Tabasco/sweet chilli instead, if desired)

• 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

• Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

• 8 slices toasted hearty brown bread (such as pumpernickel or rye)


Turn on oven and set to broiler.

In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, shredded cheese, green onion, green pepper, worcestershire sauce and black pepper; mix well so that all ingredients are thoroughly blended together. Fold in the (previously stiffened) egg whites and stir lightly to combine.

Spoon an equal amount of the cheese and egg white mixture onto each of the eight slices of bread. Place bread on a non-stick baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese and egg mixture has puffed up and turned golden brown (about 4 minutes – watch carefully, as it’s very easy to burn things cooked under the broiler).

Serve cooked cheese puffs immediately (can keep warm under a layer of tinfoil for a few minutes, but the cheese and egg mixture will deflate a bit and the bread may soften slightly – the sooner this dish is served, the better).

Makes 8 appetizer sized portions or served 2-4 as part of a meal

Bon appétit!


  1. What a fun recipe, Jessica! I agree – this is the time for root vegetables, stews, soups and definitely, pie! Cheese with apples is perfection. Hope you are staying cozy and having a festive run up to Christmas. big hug xoxo – g

  2. Yum, yum, you rest assured that I will try this recipe this holiday season, thanks for sharing, I'm going to copy ....

  3. uhh can you say yum, thank you so for sharing the recipe!
    Wearing It On My Sleeves

  4. Broiler...excuse my ignorance, but what is a broiler? When we were little my sister had a plastic play kitchen and the oven had that as a setting. I've never come across a real oven with that as a setting though!

  5. Hi everyone,

    Thank you very much for your lovely comments, it's always such a wonderful joy to hear from you.

    @ Lady Cherry, thank you for your comment and question. To "broil" something means to cook it under direct heat, and the "broiler" setting on an oven is the one that cooks heat from above (instead of from below or "all over" as with a convection oven).

    I should note that in some European and Commonwealth countries "broiling" is referred to as "grilling", however in North America grilling usually means to cook something over a direct source of heat (as on a barbeque, for example).

    This type of cooking allows you to cook and/or brown things (such as the top of a crème brulé) quickly, and is a great way to heat up and brown dishes involving cheese.

    Just about any oven will have a broiler setting (at least any Norther American oven should, I can't speak for ovens in other parts of the world), so if you want to try cooking under the broiler, just refer to your oven's manual to determine which nob/button/setting you need to push/turn on to broil on your oven. (Be careful though, food cooked under the broiler is very easy to accidentally burn, so watch whatever your cooking carefully and use a kitchen timer).

    I hope this helps answer your question, Lady Cherry. If I can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to ask :)

    Wishing you all a merry & bright Friday!
    ♥ Jessica

  6. Yes it does, and thank you so much for taking the time to comprenhensively answer my question without making me feel silly :-) I'm not sure my oven has this setting, I will have to contact the manufacturer (we are UK based). Lady C xx

  7. Hello Jessica,
    Sorry for my absence! I had my 2nd baby 8 months ago and life has been very busy. I've been getting back into blogging. I hope this note finds you well and btw thank you kindly for ur post back in March about ur Lagelle beret ;-)


  8. I totally want to try this now. Green onions + cheese = yes. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I'm late to the party, in fact the party has been over for two years! but these sandwiches were made by the volunteers at the art museum downtown in their...well, not a lunch room, but a room with tables where you could buy coffee, tea, muffins, and a small selection of sandwiches and snack-type things. Basically an open-faced grilled cheese. It was cheddar, minced green onions, and mayonnaise put under a broiler. Heavenly!

    1. That sounds absolutely lovely! Thank you for joining the party here and for sharing about the one you at that art museum. It's always a treat to receive comments on older posts. :)

      ♥ Jessica