Often when I’m food shopping in Switzerland, I’ll take a little amble through the deli section and on more than one occasion I’ve noticed that the cabinets have been full of the most beautiful, artistic open faced sandwiches. The toppings range to ALL manner of things, and I wondered what they were. They looked too beautiful to eat. Today, I’ve created some of my own versions to help you spice up your toast, so whether you fancy something sweet or savoury, you’ll find it here!
Before we jump in to the recipes, let’s have a little chat about Belegte Brötchen. These beautiful little sandwiches originate in Southern Germany, but are sold in bakeries throughout Germany, Switzerland and Austria. They are often topped with different types of cheese, ranging from cream cheese (frischkäse) to brie, meats and fish. They are normally sold as breakfast or lunch items. My versions are all vegetarian, and inspired by cuisines from Germany and elsewhere!
Let’s get into the recipes, I’ve grouped them together in two’s below so keep reading for the recipes!
Scrambled Egg and Mushroom (top)
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know how much I love scrambled egg and mushroom on toast. You can check out my love affair with this breakfast by reading my review of Carluccio’s brunch in London. In this toast, I used a mixture of chestnut and oyster mushrooms. I think the variation in textures adds a lot to the dish. Texture is just as important as flavour when it comes to food. As for the eggs, I personally think scrambling eggs slowly in a saucepan is the best way. Simply whisk the eggs with a splash of milk, some salt and pepper and a pinch of wild garlic, and cook on a low heat, stirring constantly until the eggs are just a little softer and wetter than you would like them to be. At this stage, add them to your toast as they will keep cooking for a few seconds afterwards and they will be perfect!
Caprese Style (bottom)
Now onto Italy. The caprese combination is just a winner. I don’t think it needs too much explanation, whack on some pesto, buffalo mozarella cheese, a variety of tomato slices, olive oil, salt, pepper and some torn basil leaves and you’re golden!
Fig, Cream Cheese and Walnut (top)
For the base of this toast I have used quark. Quark is a type of cream cheese that is extremely popular in Germany, it’s naturally very low in fat and fairly high in protein so it is a proper staple in these parts of the world! I topped it with some beautiful fresh fig slices, a drizzle of honey and then sprinkled on some crumbled walnuts, again, all about that texture!
Nutella, Apple and Hazelnut (bottom)
Who says we can’t have a treat for breakfast now and again? Nutella isn’t something I eat that often, but it makes it all the more special when I do. I like to use crunchy, sweet apples to complement the creaminess of the Nutella and add a few chopped hazelnuts on top for good measure! It’s definitely an indulgence, but a pretty healthy one if you ask me!
Brie, Pear and Thyme (top)
Returning slightly to the more traditional Belegte Brötchen is this version with melted brie on top. Oh yes, melted brie people. If you don’t already know how much I like cheese, check out my Swiss Macaroni Cheese, How To Create the Perfect Cheese Board and these baked apples which feature a cheesy option! Brie and pears love each other, pears are a delicate fruit and the cold sweetness against the sultry saltiness of the brie is a match made in heaven. Drizzle on a little honey and sprinkle a few fresh thyme leaves for maximum flavour!
Quark and Balsamic Vinegar Macerated Strawberries (bottom)
We’re back on the quark again for this one, but we’re topping it with a gorgeous sweet strawberry mix. Chop up some strawberries into small cubes, then in a small bowl add 1 teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Let sit for around 5 minutes and the sugar will draw the moisture out of the strawberries, turning them into a sweet jam like mixture that can be spooned right into the middle of the cream cheese. Top with some torn basil leaves.
Radish and Pepper
Who ever said simple was boring? Radishes are one of my favorite vegetables. They are naturally very crunchy, kind of sweet and a little bit spicy. They are regularly added to salads, but I thought it would be nice to allow them to be center stage for once. Simply slice the radishes thinly, top over some quark and season with salt and pepper.