With summer in full swing, sometimes we just can’t be bothered to have a full hearty meal — it’s just too hot! However, while a sad bit of lettuce, a cold hard-boiled egg, and a bag of crisps may be nostalgic of childhood heatwaves — is not really the thing we’re craving, to say the least.
So, what’s better than a refreshing, open-faced sandwich that is both easy to make and deliciously light? Here are our top three open sandwiches from around the world to get you through summer.
The king of open-faced sandwiches, bruschetta is an Italian delicacy consisting of crispy bread adorned with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. However, did you know that before the famous bruschetta arrived on the scene, it wasn’t even a sandwich? “It is traditionally made from a slice of grilled bread finished with olive oil as a way for it to be sampled by its makers,” the experts at Pasta Evangelists explain.
Regardless, the recipe has evolved, but make sure you’re getting good quality tomatoes — we recommend heirloom — and of course, A-grade extra virgin olive oil. The most important part, though, is to always remember that the correct pronunciation is brus-ketta rather than brush-etta.
- 4 thick slices of rustic bread
- 400g ripe tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 basil leaves
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dice the tomatoes and place them in a large sieve, salting generously. Combine, making sure all tomatoes are coated in salt, then allow to rest for 15-20 minutes over a bowl, stirring occasionally.
- Dispose of the excess liquid and shake the strainer to release any seeds. Taste the tomatoes — if they’re too salty, sprinkle them with water and shake again.
- Transfer the tomatoes to a large bowl and add the olive oil. Tear the basil and finely grate one garlic clove, then add to the bowl, with some pepper to taste, and mix well.
- Grill the bread until golden on both sides, then rub the other garlic clove on the slices. Top with tomato mixture and garnish with extra basil if you have it.
Delicious, beautiful, and super versatile, the Danish open sandwich is known for its refreshing flavors. Just like the name suggests — literally meaning ‘butter bread’ — the foundation is a piece of thin, black rye bread slathered in butter. But the toppings are where it starts getting interesting. Fresh prawns, pickled herring, or horseradish cream are popular, but the world is your oyster when it comes to the smørrebrød. The reason is pretty cool, too: it was originally the packed lunch of field workers, who piled their leftovers from the day before on a piece of bread.
The main rule is that this sandwich is simple, so pick one protein and go along with that (sorry, no ham and cheese in a smørrebrød). We’ve picked a lush shrimp-based version that would be perfect for summer.
- 2 slices dark rye bread, toasted
- 1 handful extra large prawns, peeled and cooked
- 1 cucumber, ribboned using a vegetable peeler
- 1 handful rocket leaves
- Butter to taste
For the vinaigrette
- ½ tsp lemon zest, finely grated
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper to taste
- Butter the freshly toasted rye bread and top with rocket leaves. Place the cucumber ribbons over the rocket followed by the prawns.
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk together all the ingredients. Drizzle the sauce all over the bread and season with salt and pepper.
3. Obložené chlebíčky
We know this one looks like a mouthful. Pronounced ‘ob-lo-jen-ay kleb-eech-key’, these Czech and Slovak open sandwiches mean ‘little garnished breads’ and are celebratory delicacies that are eaten at gatherings like birthdays, weddings, and family occasions. Traditionally, white bread, butter, and deli salad are topped with rolled slices of ham and cheese, with meticulous attention to the aesthetic of the dish. They can be described as the middle point between finger food and a sandwich, and are as filling as they are beautiful and light.
- 4 slices of white bread
- 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- 1 large gherkin, sliced
- 4 thin slices of ham or salami
- 4 thin slices of Edam cheese
- 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- Parsley, to garnish
- Chilli flakes, to garnish
- Butter (or ham salad)
- Spread the butter over the bread. Roll the ham or salami and the cheese and place a couple of slices of each on the bread, then layer the egg over.
- Top the sandwich with tomato and gherkin slices, and garnish with a sprig of parsley and chili flakes.