If you spend much time at all in Polish cities, you’ll see folks walking around eating long skinny Zapiekanka Polish French Bread Pizza. They always look and smell terrific.
Almost two years after my first visit to Poznan, curiosity got the better of me. As I was leaving Sweet Surrender one afternoon, rather than hop on my tram at Most Teatralny, I walked over to another corner of this busy intersection to order my first Zapiekanka.
Zapiekanka dates back to the 1970s, and the small amount of free enterprise allowed by the Communist government, mała gastronomia, travel trailers or food trucks serving simple street food.
Zapiekanka’s base is a baguette, cut in half lengthwise. Traditionally, it’s topped with mushrooms, melted cheese and on the very top, a squirt of ketchup.
With food scarcity a thing of the past, Zapiekanka now comes with mind boggling topping choices. I think my first was kebab meat.
The ones we made at home recently, had a slice of ham, sauteed mushrooms, cheese, and were topped with ketchup and everyone’s favorite garlic sauce, sos czosnkowy.
I made my own garlic sauce which is so versatile. You’ll find so many ways to use it! Ed pronounced it very Polish tasting and the perfect finishing touch.
My prescribed recipe below is very basic, add to it as you choose just be sure to keep the melted cheese and sauces on top.
For protein, you might try BBQed meat, cooked bacon, or salami. As you saute the sliced mushrooms, maybe you’d like to toss in some sliced onion or bell pepper.
As for the cheese, make it something that will melt well, cheddar, mozzarella, even Oscypek if you’re lucky enough to have some.
To be authentic, add a squirt of ketchup on top of your Zapiekanka as it comes out of the oven, and any other sauce you like, garlic sauce, ranch, or 1000 island dressing.
The amounts listed below are really just guidelines, like sandwich, soup, or pizza making, the rules aren’t so strict.
I look forward to hearing what toppings you’ve put together. We thought our homemade Zapiekanka were delicious!
PS – this explains why Poles are likely to put ketchup on pizza, even though it already has a red sauce!Print
Zapiekanka Polish French Bread Pizza
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Snack
- Cuisine: Polish
Poland’s colorful and delicioius street food!
- 1 loaf French bread
- Ham, sliced thin (enough to cover the bread)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 16 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cups cheese, grated
- Garlic sauce (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300 F
- Slice the bread lengthwise and also crosswise, making 4 zapiekanka crusts
- Add a thin layer of ham or other protein on top of the bread
- Add mushrooms and butter to a pan and cook over medium high heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently
- Top Zapiekanka with mushrooms and sprinkle with cheese
- Bake about 10 minutes, until cheese melts and bread is just beginning to brown around the edges
- Top with a drizze ketchup and garlic sauce
If you ketchup or other sauce doesn’t have a squirt top, add some to a sandwich bag and snip one corner, you now have a bag for piping your sauce
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.
Nice way to use up bits and pieces of veggies, cheese, etc. Thanks Lois. Happy New Year.
Thanks, Elizabeth; Happy New Year to you too!
i think I will stick with French bread pizza from lean cuisine. that stuff looked quite mixed up to me. to each his own, though.
Haha, OK, Virginia, but if you ever want to walk on the wild side
I’ve heard a lot about these but never felt that ketchup, since it is so sweet, is a good topping. But to each their own. I love how Poles put mushrooms on everything. They must have a prodigious mushroom growing industry there. My mom remembers her elders going mushroom hunting near Chicago and drying the shrooms on lines of thread hung up around the room.
Mushrooms go into almost everything in PL! The environment is just right for them, lots of forest, lots of damp weather. It seems like every family has an expert in identification who leads their mushroom gathering expeditions.
My mother made something like this when we were kids. Definitely different flavors, but we loved it as a special treat!
Certainly more fun than fish sticks!
What different flavors of cheese have you tried on these?
I have used cheddar and mozzarella.
Thanks for the info!
Hi, I’d like to make this for my fiancé. Do you have a recipe for Polish ketchup? I know it taste very different from America ketchup, but I can’t find a recipe for it.
Thanks for the suggestion, Diana. I’ll post a recipe soon. The main thing I noticed is that I saw many varieties of flavored ketchup in Poland.