(Czech finger food)
Czech Obložené Chlebíčky are small, two- or three-bite, open-face sandwiches,
served at parties as tapas with wine. Thin slices of baguette are covered with various
spreads (i.e. cream cheese, lobster paste or (Vlašský salát)),
and topped with various piquant toppings (i.e. capers, slice of pickle, deviled eggs,
brie, mozzarella, tomatoes, pepperoni, salmon, etc.).
While there are open-face sandwiches made throughout the world, these are a bit special
because of the combination of ingredients, their wide variety of tastes, and their esthetic
arrangement and presentation. Obložené Chlebíčky were invented near the beginning of the
20th century by Jan Paukert, and introduced at the Paukert Deli that opened in Prague
in 1916. Outside of the Czech Republic, we have only seen something similar in a deli
The Paukert Deli today
The original Chlebíček consisted of Prague Ham, eighth of a hard-boiled egg,
a slice of good Emmental cheese, Hungarian salami, slice of tomato on a bed of piquant
potato salad made with home-made mayonnaise, the recipe for which went with Jan Paukert
into his grave. In pre-WWII Prague, the Paukert Deli became a favorite hangout of famouis
actors and actresses from the nearby National Theather, such as Zdeněk Štěpánek, Hugo Haas,
Emma Destinová, Vlasta Burian and Lída Baarová.
The basis of these sandwiches is the Czech veka, a type of white long and round
bread generally similar to the New Orleans French bread. Generally, any type of white
baguette would do as well, but it you want to be 100% authentic, this recipe for Czech
veka was published by TV Nova in Prague:
Czech veka, a relative of the Austrian Weckerl.
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) fine wheat flour
- 20 g (3/4 oz) yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 500 ml (2 cups) water
- YIELD: 4 loaves
- Place the flower in a bowl and make a little hole in the middle. Crubmle the
yeast into the hole and pour a little lukewarm water over it. Let the mixture
sit and wait for the yeast to activate.
- The temperature of the water is important for proper activation. If the water
is too hot, the yeast (which is a living organism) will die. A temperature of
140 deg F (60 deg c) is usually sufficient to kill yeast cells. Cool water,
on the other hand will decrease the growth of the yeast, but if the water is
too cold, the yeast cells will become dormant (usually below 50 deg F, 10 deg c).
- Fold flower from the edges of the bowl over the yeast, add the sugar and more
lukewarm water. Add the salt and make sough. Work the dough to get air into it.
- Work the dough in a ball, place back in the bowl, cover and allow to rise.
- Divide the dough into fourths, and make long loaves. Bake in a 175-180 deg c
oven for 20 minutes.
There is an almost infinite number of possible combinations of toppings. Here are a
few most common recipes that we have seen sold in Prague's delis:
- 1-2 fresh baguettes
- For base layer: lobster paste, cream cheese, Czech potato salad (Vlašský
- For toppings: sweet-and-sour pickles, vine-ripened tomato, cooked ham, pepperoni,
hardboiled egg (quartered), wedges of brie or camembert, slices of blue cheese
or Roquefort, yellow or red pepper sliced into thin strips.
- For garnish: fresh parsley, basil, capers, chives, peas, red paprika, thin
sliced of lemon, thinly sliced red onion.
- Slice the baguette diagonally into oval slices that are 1/3-1/2 inch, and at
least 1.5x1.5 inches across.
- Spread the base layer (butter, cream cheese, potato salad, lobster paste, etc.)
thick onto the baguette slices.
- Arrange individual toppings tastefully on top.
- Serve on a large serving platter.
1 6.5-oz can of Maine lobster meat
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp celery stalks, finely julienned
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Dash of sugar
Dash of salt
1/4 tsp vinegar
Drain the lobster meat, clean and finely julienne
In a bowl, mix with julienned celery stalks, mayonnaise, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar.
Add salt to taste.
1/2 lb cream cheese
4 tbsp butter
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp anchovy paste
1/3 cup whipping cream
Dash of salt
In a bowl, mix cream cheese with softened butter, anchovy a dash of salt.
In another bowl, whip the cream and gently fold into the cheese mixture.
1/4 lb boiled shrimp, peeled, cleaned and de-veined
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
2 tbsp cucumber, peeled and chopped
4 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp whipping cream
1/4 lb canned peas, drained
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Cut the shrimp into small pieces.
In a bowl, combine the chopped cucumber, chopped egg and peas. In another bowl,
whip the cream and mix with the mayonnaise.
Season with salt and pepper and lightly mix everything together.
Mayonnaise Dressing For Russian Eggs
15 g gelatin
1 cup consommé
1/2 tbsp tarragon vinegar
2 tbsp white wine
Whites and crushed shells of 2 eggs
5 1/4 oz (150 g) mayonnaise
3 tbsp milk
Dash of salt
In an enameled sauce pan, combine the consommé, gelatin, vinegar, white wine, egg
whites and crushed egg shells. Stir with a whisk until the gelatin softens; then
bring almost to boiling point whisking all the time. Remove the whisk and leave
for a few minutes. Let the liquid rise to the top of the pan, and remove from the
heat. Strain the crust and liquid very gently into a bowl through a clean dish towel;
do not break the crust as it acts as an extra filter. If it is cloudy, strain again
to obtain a sparklingly clear aspic jelly.
In a bowl, combine 150 g (5 1/4 lf oz, approx. 2/3 cup) mayonnaise with 160 g
(2/3 cup) of the aspic jelly, milk, vinegar and salt.
Use to decorate eggs, potato salads or fish
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Last updated: November 1, 2010