05 March 2014

Discover the Delicacies

This past weekend I opened up the Gazette’s social media lines and asked for requests of what type of recipe you’d like to see. Most hovered around some sort of meal or appetizer, and there was a specific request for a vegetarian meal. I thought, why not find something that could be a meal or an appetizer, and that is vegetarian! Did I bite off more than I could chew? You would think so, but then I came across a recipe from Poland’s marketplace at the 2012 International Food & Wine Festival for an open-faced sandwich.

Let’s address a little problem with the dish first. In the cookbook from 2012 the dish is listed as Zapiekanka, which is Polish for casserole. At the festival it is listed as Zapiekanki, which translates as casseroles. However, back in the cookbook it states that “Zapiekamki comes from Zapiekac, which means ‘to bake.’” For all the research I could do Zapiekamki appears to be a typo or a completely made up word, meanwhile Zapiekac actually translates as gratinate or to bake something covered in buttered crumbs or cheese. This language lesson does nothing but make me hungry, and we have a delicious dish to get to! For the sake of argument, we’re going to stick with the cookbook and call this Zapiekanka.

The small plate at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is a mixture of mushrooms, cheese, and caramelized onions, while the play at home edition calls for spinach in the place of the onions. Both can be scrumptious, and shows just how much leeway you can have with your ingredients here, but we prefer the spinach variety at our house.


Spinach and Mushroom Mixture

8 Ounces Button or Mini-Portobello Mushrooms (Cleaned and Sliced)
2 Cups Fresh Spinach
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Fresh Minced Garlic


Preheat oven to 375°F
Lightly toss mushrooms with garlic and olive oil
Season with salt and pepper
Roast mushrooms on parchment-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes
Remove from oven and fold warm mushrooms and spinach in a mixing bowl, slightly wilting the spinach

Tangy Ketchup Sauce

4 Tablespoons Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Chili Sauce
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
½ Tablespoon Mustard


Mix all ingredients in a small bowl

To Serve
1 Loaf French Bread (Cut into 4 Half Pieces)
Spinach and Mushroom Mixture
Tangy Ketchup Sauce
½ Cup Gruyere Cheese (Shredded)
½ Cup Mozzarella Cheese (Shredded)


Preheat oven to 350°F
Spread spinach and mushroom mixture evenly over 4 bread slices
Sprinkle evenly with gruyere and mozzarella cheeses
Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown
Remove from oven and drizzle with tangy ketchup sauce
Serve warm

As long as all of these descriptions and ingredient lists may seem, the preparation of the Zapiekanka was remarkably easy. It is also set-up to work through in stages. While the mushrooms are roasting, the sauce can be prepared and the cheese shredded. The fifteen minutes while the final product is baking is more than enough time to clean up what little mess was created during the creation of the open-faced sandwich.

Like we talked about earlier, Zapiekanka can be made up of different types of ingredients, and are a common street food in Poland. This spinach and mushroom concoction makes a very fresh combination and the mix of gruyere and mozzarella are perfect to hold everything together. Tangy is the perfect way to describe the sauce, which gives every bite a bit of zip. Easy prep, easy on the taste buds, what’s not to like about this handy-dandy appetizer/meal with a vegetarian twist?!?!

1 comment:

KJ @ PlustheMagic said...

This looks fantastic! It was one of the dishes I was most looking forward to at the festival this past year. Mushrooms, onions, cheese, bread- these are some of my favorite things, and I make and eat all kinds of dishes with various combinations of these ingredients all the time. Sadly, it was a big disappointment for me at the festival- the batch I got was not fresh at all, and the taste was off. Your version above looks absolutely delicious!