Cheese and beans on toast (Mexico style)

Serves 4

2 tablespoons corn oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cups (10 oz/275 g) cooked kidney or black beans, drained and mashed
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
4 ciabatta rolls or 4 small baguettes, halved lengthwise
1 cup (4 oz/120 g) crumbled or grated Oaxaca, chihuahua, or mild cheddar cheese
2 cups (16 fl oz/475 ml) raw tomato salsa
Sea salt

Heat the oil in a frying pan or skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until caramelised.

Add the beans to the skillet and cook, stirring and mashing, gradually adding the olive oil until it becomes a thick puree. Add some water, if necessary. Season with salt. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C/Gas Mark 6). Put the halved rolls or baguettes on a baking sheet, cut sides uppermost. Remove some of the crumb, brush the insides with olive oil and heat in the oven until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven, spread the bean mixture over each roll and sprinkle with the cheese. Return to the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Serve immediately with the salsa.

More in Features


By , 4th July 2024
‘A standout literary thriller.’ THE FT ‘Ingenious, intriguing, colourful and very entertaining, this is the ideal summer holiday novel.’ LITERARY REVIEW

From book to screen

By , 28th February 2023
Free resources and tips for would be screenwriters, from a complete novice - and some professionals - as I navigate the process of adapting my novels for TV and film

Observer New Review Q&A

By , 22nd March 2022
An interview with Stephanie Merritt about Edith and Kim, the perils of writing about family, and why female spies often get overlooked

Researching Edith and Kim

By , 17th November 2021
From a compendium of stories about life at the Bauhaus to a Modernist memoir by the founder of the iconic Isokon, here are some of the books that inspired my forthcoming novel