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Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe

Hi there! It’s been a minute since we’ve posted, but we’re back and happy to be here! Why, you ask, have we suddenly returned? Well, because we’ve got an actual sandwich recipe for you today! For the past several months, we’ve brought you recipes that have only technically been sandwiches. Today, we’re going old school, back to the sandwich’s roots of sliced bread and sliced ingredients: a sandwich’s sandwich, if you will (is that even a thing?). Our travels have taken us to Europe this spring so today we present the first of two sandwich recipes from across the pond: the uitsmijter sandwich. This sandwich comes to you courtesy of the month we just spent in Alkmaar (the Netherlands). The uitsmijter is quite popular throughout the Netherlands, for both its simplicity and common (but tasty) ingredients. Let’s dive in!

Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe--a Dutch classic!

Background/Context

Uitsmijter literally translates to “bouncer” or “throw out,” and we’ve heard two similar versions of how this sandwich got its name. One is that after a long night of partying, the host would prepare these sandwiches to signal to their guests that it was time to go home–get out! (wink). The second is that this sandwich earned its unique name by being the item that young Dutch people cooked up in their parents’ kitchens late-night, after going out to a club or bar. This version of the story goes that when the parents woke up, hearing the voices and smelling the frying ham and eggs, they’d throw everyone out of the house, because it was very likely the wee hours of the morning. Both versions generally agree how this tasty and filling sandwich earned its moniker: uitsmijter! Though this sandwich earned its reputation as a late night snack, the Dutch commonly eat it for breakfast and lunch as well. You can also find it on many restaurant menus throughout the Netherlands. We meant to research the uitsmijter by making the rounds of restaurants, but let’s be honest: why pay 5 Euro to have someone make you simple, delicious open-faced sandwich? If we’d really wanted to research this authentically, we would have needed to stay out partying all night, but we’re getting too old for that nonsense.

Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe--a Dutch classic!

Ingredients + Procurement

One of the reasons this sandwich is popular is because of the common nature of its ingredients: fried eggs, ham, sliced cheese, and toast. If you want to get fancy, serve it with a small side salad like we have–this is how you’d usually receive it if ordered in a restaurant in the Netherlands. While there’s nothing fancy about this sandwich, it is supremely tasty.

Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe--a Dutch classic!

Though we could have procured each item from a cute little shop in Alkmaar, we chose to go the traditional grocery store route for this sandwich. Why? Because that’s very likely how the average Dutch person would procure the ingredients for this sandwich. Remember, the magic of this sandwich is in its utter normalcy. However, we did use high quality ingredients because we wanted the best available items on our sandwich, reasoning that this would result in the most delicious sandwich possible. The closest grocery store to our home was Jumbo (pronounced yumbo). It’s a Dutch grocery chain found throughout the Netherlands. The one near our townhouse was fairly standard, with a solid selection of standard groceries, baked goods, gourmet foods, and fresh produce, meats, and seafood. We were happy to shop at a retailer who offered a great combination of low prices and high quality.

Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe--a Dutch classic!

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients. We used sliced bread that we bought from the store’s bakery, and for the eggs, we grabbed the store brand, no biggie. We decided to make the ham and the cheese the highlights of our dish. For the ham, we chose a katenspek, which is technically a kind of bacon so it was smoky and delicious. It had the texture and consistency of ham, not greasy and fatty like standard American bacon. When making this sandwich, choose the best smoky ham you can find. For the cheese, we chose a 48-month aged pre-sliced cheese hailing from North Holland. It had a mature flavor–it was sharp and dry with scattered salt crystals; all in all quite tasty. As with the ham, use the best quality, aged sliced cheese you can find. The katenspek and cheese worked well together and elevated our dish to “gourmet” status.

Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe--a Dutch classic!

Moving on to the salad–it’s a simple affair and can really consist of whatever you like. For ours, we started with a bed of avocado slices and then topped that with quartered cherry tomatoes and diced cucumbers in a simple vinaigrette. This simple salad was the perfect complement to our uitsmijter sandwich.

Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe--a Dutch classic!

Now, let’s get to cooking!

Preparation

Everything about this sandwich is easy. We know that some people can be intimidated by cooking sunny-side up or over-easy eggs, but really, it’s not hard. It just takes a little patience. If you’re new to cooking your eggs this way, check out these great tips from Food52. There’s really no right or wrong way to fry an egg–it’s all in what you feel comfortable with and what you like. We cooked ours sunny-side up and to help cook the top, we placed a lid on our skillet for a few seconds at a time to help the whites fully set. It took a few minutes to do it this way but produced a beautifully runny yolk. Yum!

Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe--a Dutch classic!

Otherwise, the preparation for this sandwich involves making toast (you can do that, right? Right!), layering ingredients, and chopping veggies for the salad. Truly, one of the easiest meals you can make, which is why youngsters make it in the middle of the night, potentially inebriated in their parents’ kitchens. That’s no accident! It’s also important to note that this sandwich is intended to be eaten with a fork and knife, but if you’re bold/daring/brave, we guess you could also eat with your hands (grab several napkins!).

Uitsmijter Sandwich Recipe--a Dutch classic!

Cultural Importance

As with so many sandwiches we’ve made before, at the heart of this sandwich are plentiful, affordable ingredients. Eggs, ham, cheese, bread, and some simple fresh veggies are found in most Dutch homes at any given time (probably most homes in the Western world for that matter). The spirit of this sandwich is one of improvisation: it’s late, everyone’s tired, but everyone’s also hungry, so the uitsmijter is just assembled from what’s in the fridge. What’s in the fridge is usually an array of these basic but filling and delicious ingredients, and that’s helped to make this sandwich a mainstay. There’s also something very Dutch about a quick, simple meal–an assertion that not everything needs to be a big production to be good, or even important. These simple sandwiches are popular meal in the Netherlands for both breakfast and lunch, precisely because they are simple, straightforward, satisfying, and low key. Just like our experience of living among the Dutch!

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Uitsmijter Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • Sprinkle of fine salt
  • Sprinkle of black pepper
  • 2 slices your choice of bread
  • 2 teaspoons salted butter, softened
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • To taste: your choice of dressing
  • 2 slices your choice of flavorful cheese
  • 4 slices your choice of smoky  ham

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook them sunny-side up.
    • This should take 3 to 4 minutes, depending on how much you want the yolk to set.
    • For tips on how to fry eggs, check out this Food52 article.
    • When the eggs are done, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. While the eggs are cooking, toast the two slices of bread and then smear them with the softened butter.
  3. To plate up: Fan half a sliced avocado near the rim of each plate. Combine the tomato, cucumber, and dressing. Mix well then divide between the two plates, topping the avocado slices.
  4. Lay each slice of toast on a plate, and top each with a slice of cheese and two slices of ham. Finish each with a sunny-side up egg.
  5. Remember: this sandwich is intended to be eaten with a knife and fork--runny yolk can be messy!

Prep:10 min

Cook:5 min

Total:15 min

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