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What is a Mitraillette?

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  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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A mitraillette is a Belgian sandwich. The dish is commonly served by street vendors and at friteries, the Belgian version of a fast food restaurant. Just like France, Belgium has laid down a claim as the inventor of frites, the deep-fried potato strips better known as fries. In Belgian cuisine, fries are found on a variety of dishes and are included in many of the dishes served at a friterie, including the mitraillette.

Making a mitraillette starts with the bread. The base of the sandwich is a baguette, a type of French bread featuring a crisp crust. Instead of the standard long, thin baguette, however, the sandwich is made on a demi-baguette that has been sliced open lengthwise. This version of the baguette is shorter and softer than the traditional baguette but is also wider, making it more suitable to serve as the foundation for the sandwich.

Inside the baguette, fried meat, a layer of salted fries, and a sauce are stacked. Many variations exist for these ingredients, however. Among the types of fried meats that may be used include hamburgers, sausages, and fish. The salad typically includes lettuce and other vegetables such as tomatoes, corn, and carrots. A mitraillette can be served with a plethora of different sauces including mayonnaise, cheese sauce and ketchup.

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The mitraillette has been described as a snack enjoyed by those who see themselves as being part of the Belgian gourmand, meaning such individuals have an appreciation for fine food. Although the sandwich may not appear refined, the unique combination of ingredients is thought to help elevate the sandwich. The fries, for instance, add a crispy, creamy salty element, while the meat used can add a bolder flavor profile to the fast food item. The use of diverse sauces can be used to make the dish sweet, tangy, or spicy depending on the preference of the diner.

Translated from French, mitraillette literally means submachine gun, and the sandwich can be described as a thick, hefty sandwich that can be quite fulfilling and heavy in calories. Usually, the mitraillette is so stuffed with fries that the sandwich is impossible to close. To get around this issue, the sandwich is generally served with a fork in the middle, allowing the diner to munch away at some of the salted fries and other ingredients until the sandwich can be shut and picked up to finish eating.

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