Topinka is the simplest dish of the Czech cuisine. It could easily be called the food of the poor yet is can be so delicious that it’s hugely popular all over the country.
What is Topinka
Topinka is essencially a toast. It is a slice of bread fried on a pan with vegetable oil or lard, fried a little on the surface or all the way through. It is often consumed without anything, sprinkled with salt or just with some garlic rubbed onto it.
History and Present
People probably everywhere have always liked their bread crunchy at least on the crust. We don’t know when exactly Czech people thought of making it crunchy through and through but it was probably before they could properly read and write in Czech.
Kosmas, the famous Czech chronicler who lived at the turn of the 11th and 12th century describes the breakfast of the bishop of Olomouc: “…half-eaten cheese, some caraway seeds and onion and a piece of topinka…”
Especially poor people used to fry their bread to add something to their menus which were extremely monotonous.
Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová, a famous Czech 18th and 19th century cookbook author, mentions topinka in her famous work. Though hers is a far more elaborate Lenten topinka.
This simple dish is popular not only in the Czech households but also in many pubs where it’s often offered to accompany beer and it’s an important part of the steak tartare dish. It has found its way into the restaurants where you can eat it with many differest toppings. And so you can order topinka with fried egg on top for breakfast, topinka covered in pulled pork or beans for lunch and another one with grilled vegetables for dinner. However varied the toppings may be, the base is always the same – a slice of Czech bread fried to perfect crunchyness.
How to prepare Czech topinka
Here’s a simple recipe so you can enjoy this delicacy at home.
Put a little oil into your frying pan and heat it. Cut a slice of bread and place it in the pan. Fry until golden, then turn the slice around and fry the other side.
Rub a clove of garlic onto one of the sides and sprinkle with a little salt if you like. If you’re a real garlic fan, smear the topinka with crushed garlic.
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