Smažený sýr – pronounced like “smazhenee seer”
I can’t believe it took me this long to finally make one of my favorite (and yeah, not-good-for-you haha) Czech foods.
I first tried this fried delicacy when I studied in Prague during the summer of 2009. Fried? Cheese? As a sandwich? For the equivalent of $1usd? Those were the ingredients for a fast-food miracle. It may knock a few minutes off your lifespan, but as a treat once in a while it’s worth it. These sandwiches (served with mayo in a nice bun) were a quick grab during lunch breaks and roaming through St Wenceslas Square.
Traditionally this uses Edam cheese, which is what I used (by chance I found a 7oz wheel at Aldi for around $3, so I sliced it into two rounds). My slices were a perfect enough size for some thin sandwich buns I had. I’ve read elsewhere online that you could also use Gouda or Swiss, but as long as the cheese is hard and isn’t easily meltable then it’ll be fine. My cheese wasn’t stringy or a molten pool; I was able to bite it cleanly.
Forgetting that the wheat sandwich thins I used were nothing like the lovely fresh buns I had in Prague, this sandwich otherwise tasted just as I remembered and it brought back some fun memories of that city. My mom also tried a bite of my sandwich and she also loved it. If you ever travel to Prague, you MUST order Smažený sýr at the food stands! (I usually pronounced the whole thing, but I’ve seen/heard it shortened to Smaž [‘smahzh’].)
It’s not much of a recipe because it’s very simple. You need flour, breadcrumbs, and a beaten egg for your breading, and then oil for frying. Then some mayo and a bun/bread.
1) Slice your cheese into approximately 1/2″ thickness.
2) Bread your cheese by first coating with flour, then dipping into the egg. Lastly, cover the entire piece with breadcrumbs.
3) Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan at medium-high heat. I used vegetable oil, just enough to coat the bottom of my pan. You could deep-fry this, but if you’re just making one or a few sandwiches then I think you’ll be fine with just a frying pan.
4) Fry your cheese for approximately 45 seconds on each side, until golden brown. It may start to ooze a bit at the edges along the middle (like in my photo) but it’s okay. This cheese won’t behave like Cheddar or American.
5) Quickly place your cheese into a warmed bun and slather some mayo inside. Eat immediately while your cheese is warm and soft.
Dobrou chut’! (Czech for “Enjoy your meal!”)