Thursday, January 05, 2006The winter holidays are traditionally the time my family prepare and consume trayfuls what we know as "open-face Czech sandwiches," or chlebíčky, though their and ingredients and structure tend to suggest a Nordic origin befitting a groaning smörgasbörd. Strangely enough, the best image I was able to find of them appears on a Japanese website called Cheko.jp, along with other Bohemian memorables like goulash and dumplings. (see 4th image from the top). Some variants with cheeses, tomatoes, and tuna or chicken salads can be seen here.
You've say you've never heard of an open-face Czech sandwich? They may sound odd to the unitiated, but they are delicious. (I must confess, my mom and dad taught me everything I know about these.) One of the pleasures of living in Chicago is being able to walk into a little deli on Devon Avenue's International Marketplace, request "meat for open-faced Czech sandwiches," and without further ado be presented with proper slices of šunka and salám perfect for these party treats. You'll need:
- 1 fresh loaf sliced Italian bread
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced hard salami
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
- 6 hardboiled eggs
- 1 jar sweet bread-and-butter pickle chips
- An egg slicer and a large platter, preferrably a funky melamine retro one.
Can you picture them yet? Next, place one (or two if small) drained slice of sweet bread-and-butter pickle on the center of each ham section; don't use regular dills, as the flavor won't be quite right. Now, using a fork or spoon, sprinkle a few bits of mashed boiled egg white over each finished sandwich. Voilà!