OH NO – so you say – or can’t say ~ the word CHLEBICKY ! But, you can make them !
A chlebicky is an opened faced sandwich traditional to the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In each country, when you visit people, you may well have a plate of chlebicky set down on a table in front of you. Always in private homes, chlebicky can also be found in restaurants and deli’s in the Czech or other parts of eastern Europe. When you visit there you’ll run into deli’s with cases of assorted, mouth watering, chlebicky all lined up and ready to be enjoyed !
Chlebicky (kal-ah-beach-kay – say it fast 3 times ! ) – means “little bread”, and they come in an endless variety of combinations and flavors, they are savory (sometimes sweet, or sweet and savory) and perfect for the spontaneous meal or planned party. Especially nice to gather up ingredients, put them all in a basket and go on a picnic where you’ll put your chelbicky’s together on the spot. Kind of like the western hamburger, though open-faced, they can have any number of meat, vegetable, spread and spices added to them. There are no chlebicky a like, but there is a general set of beginners guidelines.
Kal-ah-beach-kays, are always started by spreading some kind of a savory spread on a slice of un-toasted bread. Baguettes are most often used, cut on the bias, but any great bread will do. The spread, during the Soviet occupation was most usually garlic and salt blended into margarine (the main fat given to the people by the soviets in big blocks of yellow greasiness ), but now days, butter, pulverized potato salad, egg salad, salmon spread (in the Pacific Northwest !), tapanade and many other spreadable are used on the bread. As we mentioned a baguette is usually used, but any bread will do and many prefer a heavier grain bread for making kal-ah-beach-kays. Any of our Screaming Banchee loaves makes a mean one !
Toppings for chlebicky’s are varied. They can be meat-eater or vegetarian. We especially like them with our Thanksgiving Ham ( which is what promoted this post – what to do with left over slices of the Ham – cause there’s always a couple of stragglers). Sliced meats, salumi, cheese and/or fish, all work well on a chlebicky. Oh – when using the ham – a touch of any of our Whidbey made jams ad a nice touch.
The second, third and even forth toppings will include, slices of hard-boiled egg, slices of pickles or caper berries, capers, onions, olives, marinated peppers, or what ever you can dream up.
Spread your choice of spreads on the un-toasted bread, fold down a slice of meat or flakes of fish, and top with a couple (or more) of the toppings. Arrange them on a plate or wooden board and poof, viola’ it’s time to enjoy !
Click on this picture of the “little breads” for a great article on chlebicky’s from the Montreal Gazette by writer Sarah Musgrave - a testiment of how far the little breads have come since the fall of “the wall” ! They are now made and served world wide in restaurants and homes, even on Whidbey (on island they are made at home – till we convince one of the island restaurants to make them! We make a version of them here – and you can always come in and get all of the ingredients and make them at home !
We’ve got so many items that make great chlebicky’s in the store here – that writing this post has made me hungry! Off to the bread box and the deli case. Have a great day ! Stay warm – it’s chilly, but happily sunny, here today. Perfect weather for a chelbicky with tea.