When I first got to know M, I started to realize that he did some things backwards. He would call his foot his leg, switch out words in a sentence and regularly exchange dinner for lunch. Now, I must explain that he is Austrian so mixing up the words doesn’t sound too strange considering English is not his first language. But eating lunchmeat, cheese and bread for dinner every night? This American-bred girl found it to be quite odd. To me dinner was always the big family meal, where everyone sat around the table with platefuls of hot delicious food in front of them.
Apparently the cold dinner is not unique to M but more of an Austrian ritual. Lunch is traditionally the main meal of the day with dinner consisting of a mish mash of sliced meats, cheeses, bread and various accompaniments. Although I have read that many Austrians are now having their main meal at the end of the day, M grew up eating a substantial lunch and lighter dinner. His family still honors this custom. While we were visiting we had cold dinners every night. Austrian sliced meats by far outshine their American counterparts so I hardly missed my heavy evening meals.
The Austrian Cold Plate Dinner prepared by M’s mother
This open-faced sandwich was inspired by my Austrian fiancé and his famed cold feasts. One of his favorite meats is prosciutto, with its delightful saltiness. Placed atop seedy ciabatta bread and balanced out with cool melon and creamy California avocado, this makes a truly satisfying dinner (or lunch if you really insist on being such a Yank!)
- 4 thin slices seedy ciabatta (I used Trader Joe’s multi-grain ciabatta)
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cantaloupe melon, thinly sliced (about 16 slices)
- ½ California Avocado, thinly sliced
- 8 slices prosciutto
- Fresh dill for garnish (optional)
Spread ½ ounce of goat cheese on each slice of bread. Sprinkle with the black pepper. Layer each slice with the melon and California avocado and top with the prosciutto. Garnish with dill (or other fresh herb) if desired. Serve enthusiastically to your favorite Austrian.
Servings: 2 Serving Size: 2 pieces
Calories: 390 Fat: 24.2g Sat. Fat: 9.2g Carbs: 25.8g
Sodium: 794mg Fiber: 5g Sugar: 9.3g Protein: 25.5g