Zapiekanka or Polish sandwich – open-faced toasted sandwiches topped with fried mushrooms, ham, and cheese.
Some kind of pizza sandwich or Polish zapiekanka: deliciously crunchy baguette halves topped with whatever you like.
Another Polish recipe for you again today, I have quite a few of them on the blog, for instance, the Bezowy Cake, one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. The Bigos Stew or the Polish Kasha, which is roasted buckwheat with mushrooms and onions.
What is Zapiekanka?
Zapiekanka is a popular Polish street food consisting of half a baguette, topped with fried mushrooms and cheese, toasted in the oven until the cheese melts. Afterward, you squeeze some ketchup on it and there you have it, some kind of pizza sandwich, hot and delicious!
Zapiekanka appeared for the first time on the streets of Poland in the 1970's, but it became really common at the end of the 1980's when the communist laws regarding private enterprise started to loosen in the country.
This lead to the spread of food trucks selling zapiekanki, French fries, sausages or rotisserie chicken.
There are many varieties of zapiekanka. It started with the mushrooms and the cheese, but people kept adding stuff to it to make it more interesting.
Other versions of the so called “Polish pizza” include “diablo” with hot sauce, bacon and pickled cucumbers, “Greek” with feta and olives, “Gypsy” with sweet and sour sauce or “Hawaiian” with pineapple and barbecue sauce. (Wikipedia)
How to make at home?
- Start with frying the mushrooms and green onions in a little butter for about 3-4 minutes or until the released juices are evaporated and the mushrooms are golden.
- Add salt, pepper, and some chopped herbs.
- If you have a long baguette, halve it in the middle and then and halve it lengthwise. If you have two smaller ones, halve them lengthwise.
- Top them with the pan-fried mushrooms, some thin ham slices (optional), and grated cheese.
- I used Gouda cheese, but Cheddar, Gruyere or other similar cheese that you like is OK.
- Toast the Polish sandwiches for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.
How to serve?
Enjoy with some thinly sliced scallions and ketchup on top. Or Sriracha sauce in my case, because I like things a bit hotter and I really cannot stand ketchup.
The zapiekanka sandwiches can be assembled ahead, covered with cling film and refrigerated until ready to bake.
Zapiekanka - Polish Sandwich
- 500 g/ 1.1 lbs mushrooms button, cremini
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tablespoon butter + a little more for the baguettes
- 1 long baguette or two smaller ones
- 8 thin ham slices
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ 1 cup grated cheese Gouda, Cheddar, Gruyere, etc
- 1-2 thin scallions
- fine sea salt and pepper
- ketchup to serve or hot sauce for a spicier version
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius/ 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper and cut them into slices. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a cast iron or a nonstick pan. Fry the mushrooms for about 3-4 minutes or until their released juices have evaporated. Add the chopped thyme leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- If using a long baguette, cut it in half first and then cut the halves lengthwise. If using small baguettes, halve them lengthwise.
- Spread a thin layer of butter onto the baguettes. Top the baguette halves with the fried mushrooms and the sliced ham. Sprinkle with freshly grated cheese and some pepper.
- Toast the baguettes in the hot oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is nicely melted.
- Sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions and serve hot with ketchup.