I know you’ve all been waiting anxiously to find out the answer to yesterday’s ‘Guess the Polish Street Food…’ post and it is: smalec (pronounced sma-letz) – or properly, chleb ze smalcem i ogórkiem.
As a few of you guessed, it’s pork fat (or lard) rendered down and mixed with onions, herbs and salt and then spread on bread with pickled cucumbers. It’s kind of like the Polish version of Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Although having said that, our Polish friend who introduced us to this delight cannot abide fat on meat, but she loves this stuff. My husband is also squeamish when it comes to skin, crackling, fat or gristle on meat, but he tucked right into this (he also loved the marrow toast at The Quality Chop House, so maybe it’s something to do with it being on toast?). I also loved it as I knew I would being a lover of all things fatty.
As we were walking through the market in Gdańsk on a sunny afternoon, we passed a stall selling smalec and our friend was insistent that we tried some. Thank goodness! It was amazing. I can only imagine that if the bread had been broiled with the smalec on it, so the herby mixture melted into the nooks and crannies of the bread and caramelized up into a fatty crust over the top, it would have been even more heavenly.
I am in the process of hunting down some pork fat, so check back for a home made version of this sometime in the near future.