Sunday, 22 May 2011

A Dutch Tradition...the Uitsmijter

There's nothing better than your parents coming to visit you when you haven't seen them since Christmas and spending a week eating, drinking good wine, good beer and just chilling out. We spent the week in the province of Friesland which is in the North of the Netherlands. If you ever get a chance to visit, you definitely should. It's one of the most peaceful places I've ever been to and was the most beautiful area that we've been to in the Netherlands so far. Think windmills, boats (or rather yachts), tiny houses, bikes and fresh seafood by the sea. Bliss.

Unfortunately, it's back to normality now but I think I'll be spending a lot of time wishing that this was the view I have out of my living room window all the time. I wonder if the landlord would let me swap my teeny apartment for it? 

One of the meals that at least one of us would eat for lunch every day was the 'uitsmijter'. 'Uitsmijter' literally means 'to throw out' or 'bouncer'. Apparently it's what would be served up at the end of the night when the party was coming to an end. I've seen it on every menu in every cafe that I've eaten in over here and is a popular dish for breakfast or lunch. 

Bread, cheese, ham and fried eggs are all piled high and the result is this Dutch open sandwich. And let me tell you, this meal is no food for people who enjoy the odd carrot stick for lunch. This is not food for when you're feeling a bit peckish. No, no, no. This is not about being dainty or pretty. This is man food. This will keep you marching for hours. It'll even keep you going when you have to walk for 40 minutes through a farmer's field because some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to put the train station two miles out of town in the middle of nowhere.  

I've just finished feasting on one of these babies but I'm already feeling an Emma styleee uitsmijter coming on. Mozzarella, parma ham and a poached egg on ciabatta? Err, yes please. Goats' cheese, bacon and a poached egg on a freshly baked muffin? That'll do too. I think I know what I'm having for lunch every day this week then...

Serves one very hungry person

From what I can tell, an uitsmijter is usually made with bread. Call me a rebel but I never like to let an opportunity to eat toast pass me by. Plus, I think that a bit of crunchy toast adds a nice bit of texture against the soft ham, cheese and eggs.

It's usually made with 'oude kaas' (an aged Gouda cheese) but I'm sure that it would also taste just as lovely with a good bit of cheddar.

What you'll need

2 slices of the bread of your choice. I used brown, linseed bread. Yummy!
A couple of slices of good thick ham
Enough cheese to cover both slices of bread, sliced
3 eggs
Salt and pepper to season
Chives to serve

What to do

There's really not a lot to do. I'm sure you could do it without me even telling you. It literally takes as much time as it takes to fry the eggs to your liking.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry your eggs. I like mine with a crispy bottom but with a really runny yolk. I'll allow you to cook your eggs how you like though. Season your eggs with a bit of salt and pepper whilst they're cooking.

Whilst your eggs are making themselves delicious, pop your bread into the toaster and then give it a nice coating of butter. Lay your lovely thick ham on the bread, followed by the cheese and top it all off with your perfectly cooked fried eggs. 

I sprinkled a few chives over mine just because I think chives rock. And also because I grew them myself and I'm loving being able to pop out to the balcony and snip off fresh herbs to my hearts content. Also, how pretty are chive flowers?

And bam. We're done. Now eat up and go for a walk.

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