Ukrainian Kanapky – Open Face Sandwiches
These open-face sandwiches, which we call “Kanapky”, better known to my children as “church sandwiches” (since they always enjoyed them at a church bake sale), are very presentable on a party table, and extremely tasty.
You can use a whole slice of bread, for a hefty kanapka, but for parties, I prefer to cut each slice of bread in half, or even into thirds, as for tea party kind of appetizers. Then you use the other ingredients in proportion to your bread size.
They are so delicious…almost addictive… and you will not just have one…I assure you of that. They will become everyone’s favorite at your party!
The key to success for this specialty appetizer is a really good, firm rye bread. I usually buy it at a European Market (Polish or Ukrainian deli), Jewish bakery, or as a last resort, at a grocery store with a bakery on premises, reputable for baking delicious bread.
During my childhood, my mom used to make these as well, but she would use a fine grinder to grind farmer’s cheese with finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley leaves, to use as the spread. We chose a less laborious process of using cream cheese mixed with butter and spices.
Europeans use different types of toppings for their open-face party sandwiches, such as thinly sliced Lox, Sardines, Pickled Herrings, Caviar, Pickled Peppers, Grilled Eggplant, and even finely chopped eggs mixed with minced garlic and mayo, or butter.
- 2 Large loves of firm Rye Bread (40 slices)
- 8 oz cream cheese (or more, for a thicker layer of spread) softened
- 2 Tbs butter, softened
- 1 Tbs Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix
- 4 tomatoes, sliced thin
- 4 medium pickles, sliced thin
- 6 large eggs, boiled and sliced thin (use an egg slicer, for best results)
- 1.5 Lbs of ham, cooked, smoked, or your choice - sliced on a thinner side as well
- 20 slices of American cheese, white or yellow
- Scallions, chopped (to sprinkle on top for a fresh look, and to enhance the aroma)
- Mix the cream cheese, butter and salad dressing mix.
- Set aside.
- Remove the smaller end from the loaf of bread, if you are using bakery loaf. If you are using a prepackaged bread without the ends, then you are all set.
- Cut the cheese slices in half diagonally (forming triangles)
- Fold each slice of ham in half, or cut in half it you plan to use only that much on each sandwich.
- Get ready all the sliced ingredients: eggs, tomatoes, pickles.
- Spread the cheese/butter mixture on each piece of rye bread (rather sparingly).
- Place a piece of ham on top of the spread.
- Place a piece of cheese on top of ham.
- Arrange nicely a slice of pickle, slice of an egg, and slice of a tomato on top of the cheese slice.
- Sprinkle lightly with chopped scallions.