It’s August and my garden is overflowing with cucumbers. Yes, I’ve made pickles. I love half sour pickles …. absolutely delicious! And we’ve been slicing and dicing them for salads for weeks. But today, in this hot, sticky weather, I have friends coming over for tea ….. the perfect time to make my favorite classic English tea sandwich ….. CUCUMBER!
If you’ve never had a classic cucumber sandwich, you’re in for a treat. They are so easy to make …. light, delicate and refreshing …. ideal for a summertime treat. Just keep these few tips in mind and you’ll have the perfect tea sandwich:
1. If you don’t have fresh cucumbers from your garden or farmer’s market, use English cucumbers, which are readily available in most supermarkets today. English cucumbers have a much thinner and easier to digest skin than American-style cucumbers. Also the cucumbers we generally see in supermarkets have been dipped in wax to keep them from spoiling. Yuck!
2. Slice the cucumber thinly and either spread the slices on paper toweling, or put them in a colander and then lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Leave them for about an hour. This will remove the excess water and ensure a more crisp sandwich.
3. Always butter the bread! Don’t think about unnecessary calories …. think about not having soggy sandwiches! The key to good tea sandwiches is to always lightly butter the bread.
CLASSIC CUCUMBER SANDWICHES
Makes 10 finger sandwiches
1 large cucumber
1 8 oz. pkg. good-quality cream cheese
Arnold’s Thinly Sliced White Bread
Lay out the bread (thin-sliced dense white bread is best) on the counter and spread both slices lightly with butter. On one slice arrange the thinly-sliced cucumbers. Depending upon how thinly you sliced them, you might use 4 to 6 slices. On the other slice of bread , generously spread the cream cheese. Put the two together and press firmly. Now is when you either trim off the crusts or cut with a cookie cutter. If using a cookie cutter, be sure it’s sharp, otherwise you’ll have slippage.
If you are having a tea party, to impress your guests, you can use two different types of bread – one white, one whole wheat. You can also lightly spread the outside rim of your sandwiches with butter and dip the edges in the chopped parsley. So pretty!
To make ahead, place the sandwiches in a plastic container covered with a very damp tea towel.
Cucumber Sandwiches …. easy and delicious!