Gebakken Kaasplak

The other day, I was rummaging around in stacks of 1950's women's magazines looking for dinner ideas, as I often do. I love to see what dishes the men and women of my mom's and grandma's time prepared and ate. Sunday meals were certainly more elaborate as they appear to be nowadays, I would say, starting with a soup, then a main course (potatoes, meat and vegetables), and ending with a (dairy) dessert. Whatever was left of the meat, was frequently served the next day sliced for lunch, cold, with bread and pickles, or transformed into a new dish, often a casserole, or hot snacks like kroketten. Rice or elbow macaroni was cooked once, and a portion kept aside to turn into desserts for the next day, and vegetables that were left went into the soup, stamppots, or pan-fried until crispy. Nothing was wasted! 

On days that meat was not on the menu, I frequently saw something else in its stead: gebakken kaasplak, fried cheese slice. Recipes among the different magazines varied a little bit, so I ended up creating my own. I think it's my new favorite! 

It's a simple yet delicious dish made by breading a thick slice of cheese and frying it in butter until it's golden and crispy on the outside while remaining soft and melty inside. Pick your favorite cheese, and go for it! You can serve it as a meat substitute with dinner, as a hamburger substitute on a roll with fresh lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion, or as a snack with a dollop of mustard. 

Here in the US, cheese can be found pre-sliced, so-called deli-style. Each square is approximately 3.5 x 3.5 inches (8.5 x 8.5 cm), and weighs about 1 oz /28 grams each. Do not use floppy American cheese slices for this, but select sturdy Sharp Cheddar, Aged Gouda, or Pepper Jack slices. 

Gebakken kaasplak

8 square slices deli style sliced cheese
2 eggs
1 cup panko or breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons (55 grams) butter
Whole grain mustard

Lay out the cheese slices. Spread a teaspoon each of mustard on four slices and top each with a second slice. Beat the two eggs in a shallow dish. and pour the breadcrumbs in another shallow dish. 

Dip one of the stacked cheese slices in the egg, turn it over to coat the other side, and lift it out of the egg. Let it drip, and then coat the cheese with breadcrumbs on all six sides. Repeat with the rest of the cheese. 

Heat the butter in a frying pan. Dip the breaded cheese in the egg again, then again in the breadcrumbs and put them in the frying pan, repeating until all four cheese patties are in the pan. On medium heat, fry all sides of the cheese patties until golden brown, about five minutes. Serve warm.

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