Zapiekanka (derived from zapiekać – “to scorch”, “to roast”) is a Polish halved baguette or bread topped mainly with mushrooms and cheese, also ham or other types of meat, and vegetables. Beside some basic versions there are several recipes like Zapiekanka na ostro, Zapiekanka z miesem, most popular is the “Student’s Zapiekanka”. They are usually placed in an oven until the cheese melts and the baguette or bread is crispy. It is served scalloped and usually topped with dressings like ketchup and chives. It’s a very popular fast food in Poland.
A very popular type of Zapiekanka is a “student’s zapiekanka”, sometimes also called “whatever zapiekanka”. It is made of whatever is at home at the moment, and the only compulsory ingredients are bread and cheese. It’s very commonly served (as an alternative to sandwiches) to unexpected guests if the host has nothing else to serve. It’s also a quick dish for students, sometimes taking even less time to make than an instant soup. As it can be stored in the fridge before baking, many students prepare a full plate of them at the weekend so that they have something quick and nutritious to eat for the whole week.
- 1 long loaf French bread, cut in half and then cut in half horizontally to yield 4 pieces
- thinly sliced ham or luncheon meat of choice (optional)
- sauteed mushrooms
- raw or cooked vegetables of choice (optional)
- mayonnaise (optional)
- grated melting cheese of choice
- chopped chives (optional)
- If the bread is very long, cut it into 3 pieces and halve each horizontally, otherwise, cut it into 2 pieces. Layer meat, sauteed mushrooms and cheese on each slice of bread and toast in a hot oven until the bread is crispy and the cheese has melted. Drizzle with ketchup and serve hot.