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Chlebicky Czech Open-Faced Sandwiches

Chlebicky, Czech-style open-faced sandwiches, are like an Eastern European version of Spanish tapas. Baguette rounds loaded with assorted toppings—each round as unique as a snowflake—to make a delectable bar snack or party offering.

Low angle shot of a stack of white plates with two open face sandwiches on the top plate. There are two bottles of beer, a glass of beer, and a tray of open faced sandwiches in the background.

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I learned about chlebicky from my husband who learned to make it from his stepfather who was from the Czech republic. My husband introduced the snack to our group of friends back in our partying days. It’s the perfect thing to accompany a night of drinking.

overhead shots of ingredients for making chlebicky

How do you pronounce chlebicky?

Chlebicky is pronounced kleb-EECH-key. According to my father-in-law, it means “little breads” or something like that.

What are oblozene chlebicky?

Chlebicky are open-face sandwiches. You start with sliced baguette or other round bread. Spread on some anchovy butter, horseradish cream, or whatever sandwich spread you like.

Then top each round with an assortment of tasty tidbits. Choose from hard salami, ham, pimiento-stuffed olives, pickled beets, pickles, cheese, sardines, anchovies, smoked fish like lox, and hard-boiled eggs.

Really, you can add just about anything you like!

butter and anchovy paste are combined in a bowl. shot from overhead.

When do you serve chlebicky?

Obložené chlebíčky is party food. We like to serve it on special occasions like New Year’s Eve.

At its core, chlebicky is open-faced sandwiches: Rounds of baguette with butter or butter mixed with anchovy paste and topped with an assortment of toppings.

These little sandwiches are savory, salty, and full of flavor. They’re an ideal accompaniment to a good pilsner-style beer, like the Czech-made Pilsner Urquell, or a glass of wine or bubbly.

The base of chlebíčky is a slice of baguette with a smear of a savory spread. In my family we use a combination of anchovy paste and butter. Others use just butter, creamed horseradish, or mayonnaise.

Next bits of meat, cheese, fish, olives, etc., area loaded on top. This is where chlebicky making becomes a group project. Sit everyone down around the table, lay out all your toppings, give everyone a beverage, and let people go crazy.

Just like snowflakes, no two chlebicky are alike. We sometimes make faces in the chlebicky using olives for eyes, halved slices of hard-boiled egg or crescents of salami for smiles, and so on.

Chlebicky making is meant to be a fun group event. Don’t worry about making yours beautiful. Make up your own flavor combinations.

And of course, you have to taste along the way to make sure you are doing it right!

A shot of a person spreading anchovy butter onto a slice of bread.

What kinds of meat should you use?

My husband says both hard salami and ham are musts. Other possibilities are prosciutto, mortadella, smoked turkey, or pepperoni.

What kind of fish should you use?

Sardines, lox, anchovies, pickled herring all make fine chlebicky toppings. Or try smoked trout, smoked salmon, or baby shrimp.

What kind of cheese should you use?

Any thinly sliced, firm or medium-firm cheese works. Gruyere, Emmenthaler, edam, gouda, Havarti, or cheddar are great options.

What else should you put on your chlebicky?

The list of possible toppings is endless. Some of our favorites are pimiento-stuffed olives, pickles, pickled onion, pickled beets, and hard-boiled egg slices.

The Czechs put all sorts of toppings on their chlebicky including fresh herbs, sliced cucumbers, sliced onions, sliced scallions, horseradish, all manner of cured meats, and any sort of pickled vegetable.

Overhead shot of a bunch of chlebicky sandwiches on a tray.

What should you serve with cheblicky?

The only accompaniment you really need for chlebicky is a refreshing beverage. We always have Czech Republic-made Pilsner Urquell or Czechvar on hand.

White, rose, red wine, or sparkling wine are perfect, too.

Sometimes we like to serve them as part of a tapas spread. I love to add a dish of these Spanish meatballs in smoky tomato sauce.

For dessert, serve these delicious Czech poppy seed-filled pastries, Kolacky.

What ingredients do you need?

You need to have some sort of bread to build your open-faced sandwiches on. A savory sandwich spread is a must. And of course, you’ll need toppings.

But the beauty of chlebicky is that you can pile them high with whatever toppings YOU like! Here’s what I’ve used for this post:

  • Baguette (make sure you get one that is fairly fat and round so that you have enough room for your toppings!)
  • Anchovy paste mixed with unsalted butter
  • Hard salami, sliced and cut into strips or half moons
  • Ham, rolled and sliced
  • Gouda cheese, sliced
  • Harvarti with dill, sliced
  • Hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • Pimiento-stuffed olives, sliced
  • Pickles, some sliced, some cut into sticks
  • Pickled beets, sliced
  • Sardines, cut into pieces
  • Fresh chives
  • Fresh dill

How do you make them?

The hardest part of making chlebicky is preparing the ingredients. It’s not difficult but depending on what toppigns you choose, it can take a little bit of time.

  1. Leave unsalted butter out to soften
  2. Make hard-boiled eggs, chill them, peel them, and slice them. I like to use this handy hard-boiled egg slicer!
  3. Mix the softened butter with anchovy paste to make your spread
  4. Slice all of your toppings
  5. Slice the bread
  6. Spread some of the anchovy butter on each slice of bread
  7. This is the fun part! Put all of the toppings out on the table and let your guests make the chlebicky!

Can you make chlebicky ahead of time?

The open-faced sandwiches are really the best shortly after making them. You could make a bunch and cover them with plastic wrap and let them sit for a half hour or an hour.

If you want to prepare your party food farther in advance, simply prepare all of the parts and save them separately.

Boil and slice the eggs, slice the meat, olives, and pickles, etc.

Mix up your anchovy butter and slice your bread.

Then cover everything with plastic wrap and refrigerate until about 20 minutes before you want to assemble the chlebicky. You’ll want to give the anchovy butter ample time to soften up.

Low angle shot of a tray full of the sandwiches with a bottle of pilsner urquell beer and a glass of beer in the background.

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Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Chlebicky

low angle shot of a tray of open face sandwiches

Chlebicky, Czech-style open-faced sandwiches, are like an Eastern European version of Spanish tapas. Baguette rounds are piled with assorted toppings—each round as unique as a snowflake—to make a delectable bar snack or party offering. Below is a starting point for you, but feel free to use whatever toppings you like!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons anchovy paste, or to taste
  • 1 thick baguette, sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced into rounds
  • 2 ounces hard salami, sliced
  • 2 ounces deli-sliced ham, rolled into cylinders and sliced into rounds
  • 2 ounces cheese (edam, gouda, cheddar, havarti, gruyere, etc.)
  • 2 pickles, sliced
  • 2 pickled beet, sliced
  • 8 pimiento-stuffed olives, sliced
  • 1 4-ounce can sardines, drained and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Fresh herbs like chives and/or dill

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the butter and anchovy paste until well combined. Taste and add additional anchovy paste as needed.
  2. Spread a bit of the anchovy butter onto each slice of bread.
  3. Top each bread slice with assorted toppings. Make each one different! Have fun! Make faces!
  4. Serve immediately.

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By on January 2nd, 2021

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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