Zapiekanka (Toasted open-face sandwich)

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Oh man, I remember running home after school as a little girl to get my hands on some hot zapiekanki…ahhh memories. Zapiekanki are toasted open-face baguettes that are typically topped with mushrooms, onions, cheese, and ketchup. But really, they are communist food shortage pizzas from Poland. This poor man’s pizza is the product of hard times in 1970s Poland that saw an astronomical rise in basic foodstuffs, riots, strikes, military crackdowns, and shortages (yikes)! Cheap bread was topped with mushrooms, ketchup, and cheap cheese (or whatever was available) and sold from trucks on the street. It continued to be popular as a street food and as a quick snack even as times got better.

Mushrooms, cheese, and KETCHUP are a must here but everything can be modified to taste. Just don’t try to be fancy by using marinara sauce. Ketchup was already a decadent enough symbol of the capitalist West, so using a marinara sauce, more pure in its tomato form will really keep the taste of “struggle” from shining through your zapiekanki. Prepare yourself for some serious artisanal handcrafted gourmet chic high fine dining!!! *Please note sarcasm*

*Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • Half a baguette, halved lengthwise
  • 7-10 white mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • ~6 tbsp. ketchup
  • Shredded or sliced semi-hard cheese, like Edam cheese (enough to cover top of  zapiekanka)
  • Chopped parsley (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you slice your mushrooms and onions thinly enough, you can omit sautéing them because they will cook as you bake/toast the zapiekanka. If you prefer, add the sliced mushrooms and onions to a pan with a tiny bit of butter oil and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of ketchup on each half of the baguette. Evenly spread the mushrooms and onions and cover with cheese and parsley. Squeeze ketchup over the top (you can do this after toasting/baking, but I prefer adding it before) and bake open-faced for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Serve hot!

Smacznego!

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