I'm embarrassed that I had to look up this recipe -- it probably should already be in the repertoire of any self-professed Anglophile! But I certainly did remember any number of rhapsodical passages about it, and so we tried it some time ago. I added the egg for a bit of protein and to make it more filling. Both of my girls loved the rarebit, even though Julia for one is still a bit dubious about eggs -- the cheese helps a lot, so we're not terribly stingy with it -- and they were delighted to hear that it was on the menu for a quick supper tonight.
This version is from We'll Eat Again, a collection of wartime recipes by Marguerite Patten (who PBS television viewers may remember as one of the consultants for the series "1940s House"). It's a very economical version, and faster than those in which the cheese is melted in a saucepan with a dash (or more) of ale and English mustard, although there is certainly something to be said for the more elaborate version. Patten adds margarine and a spoonful of chutney or yeast extract (such as Marmite or Vegemite) on the toast under the cheese, which would add a bit of zip, but I didn't want to push my luck.
Properly speaking, this is a "buck rarebit," rarebit with a poached egg on the top -- there is an amusing and informative article about the dish at Wikipedia.
Poach the eggs while the cheese is toasting, so that everything will be nice and hot.
(The bonus is that the song sticks in my head all day. "We'll meet again / Don't know where, don't know when, / But I know we'll meet again / Some sunny day ....")
Welsh Rarebit with Poached Egg
3 slices bread
3 tablespoons Cheddar cheese, grated
Toast the bread, and top with the cheese. Place under the broiler until golden brown.
Boil a saucepan of water, and drop in the eggs. Poach for 2 to 3 minutes at medium-high heat.
Place 1 egg on top of each piece of toast, and serve immediately.
Serves 3. Active work time, about 5 minutes.