Melba toast is completely dry, crisp, thinly sliced, toasted bread and most often served with soup or pâté. History has it that the name was given to the toast by the world’s most famous hotel manager César Ritz. Melba toast was created by his equally famous chef Auguste Escoffier for the Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, around 1897. During a stay in London, the singer was taken ill and when she requested something light to eat Escoffier delivered Melba toast.
Melba toast is available commercially but is not difficult to make and a great way to use up excess sliced bread and you will find the results much better. It can be made up to a couple of days before you need it and stored it in an airtight container, then crisp it up for a short time in the oven.
Sliced white or brown bread as required
Preheat the grill to high and toast the bread lightly on both sides. Cut off the crusts, then holding the toast flat, slide the knife between the toasted edges to split the bread.
Place the toast cut side down onto a food preparation board and gently rub it over the board surface. This removes any loose crumbs and snags of dough which will burn when you toast the underside and produces a professional finish.
Place on a baking tray untoasted sides uppermost, then toast under a moderate grill until golden and the edges curl.
When required crisp for a short time in the oven at 170 °C / 325 °F / Gas 3 before serving.