Thursday, January 10, 2008

cucumber tea sandwiches

Yes, cucumber sandwiches, the kind that you must eat with your forefingers, and with your pinky finger sticking up into the air, along with your nose.

We attended a potluck champagne brunch on Sunday to which I brought these cucumber finger sandwiches and a batch of maple pecan scones. There's honestly nothing really exciting about cucumber sandwiches. If anything, they can come off quite stuffy and bland. But they are a classic, so in my mind, they must be kept alive, no matter how overdone they are. I've tried many different versions in the past, playing with various herbs and breads. I find that this recipe really hits a home run with the crowd, and it's really very simple and economical to make and feed a roomful of guests.

Some suggestions:

- use a firm cucumber; no need to seed
- use a soft, sweeter, multigrain bread (I prefer the Struan loaf from Atwater's: a whole-grain slightly sweet artisan bread made with buttermilk, cornmeal, and honey)
- chill sandwiches before cutting into smaller squares
- don't leave the crusts on; how uncouth!

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
makers 16-20 finger sandwiches

1 medium firm cucumber
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp dry Italian dressing mix
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
8-10 slices soft multigrain sandwich bread

1. Peel and thinly slice cucumber on a mandoline or with a knife. Set aside.

2. Mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian dressing mix, and parsley. Let sit for about 30 minutes to let the flavors intensify.

3. Spread cheese mixture on a slice of bread. Add a thin layer of sliced cucumbers. Spread cheese on another slice of bread and press down firmly over the first slice. Repeat with the remaining pieces of bread. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. Remove and with a serrated knife, cut off the crusts from each sandwich, then slice into fourths.


Anonymous said...

5 years in the UK and I'm more than happy to say goodbye to cucumber sandwiches, high tea, and all that nonsense. Just say no to stuffy cultural icons.

roopa said...

I dunno, Ted, I kinda like cucumber tea sandwiches! Oooh, I think I'm going to make some for lunch tomorrow seeing as how my fridge is lacking in proper food but I somehow do have cucumber, cream cheese, and bread...

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