CATERING 2006 TEA SANDWICHES

Tea Sandwiches

                                       -England

 

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Small, delicate finger sandwiches made on thin sliced bread are the very essence of a traditional English tea.  If you have ever read Charles Dickens, a Georgette Heyer romance, a Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot mystery or watched on old English movie on T.V. it is most likely you have heard of crab, cucumber or watercress sandwiches.  They are virtually synonymous with the English tea.

 

So, a sandwich is a sandwich you may say.  Well, not exactly.  The bread for tea sandwiches is very important.  American squish bread just won’t work.  The slices are too tick and the texture is way too squishy; but them, really heavy health-food dark whole grain bread won’t do the trick and neither will rye or French bred or San Francisco Sourdough.  You need good, homemade style Basic White Bread or basic Whole Wheat Bread.

 

Sometimes If I can’t find bread that is sliced thinly enough I buy regular bread, freeze it and then cut each slice in half to make thinner slices.  The bread must be frozen and you must have a very sharp knife but not a seriated one.  A seriated knife will rip the bread. 

Making the Sandwiches:

Once you have achieved your bread of the correct thickness you are ready to make your sandwiches.  Usually you won't cut the crust off the bread until after the sandwiches are made.  Now, this first step goes against all current health practices.  Spread each slice, top and bottom, with butter.  This isolates the bread from the filling and helps to keep your sandwiches from becoming soggy.  This way, you may make your sandwiches several hours in advance, cover them tightly with plastic wrap and they will still be nice when served.

After spreading each slice of bread with butter, you may now spread whatever filling you are going to use.  Be sure to have the filling come all the way to the edge.  Cover the filling with the top slice.  You are now ready to cut your sandwiches.  First, carefully, using a sharp knife but not a seriated one, trim off all the crusts.  I like to cut each type of sandwich a different shape.  That way it is easier for your guests to choose the type of sandwich they wish.  I will cut one type of sandwich into four equal squares, another into four equal triangles and yet another into three or four long fingers.  I always cut the bread for my cucumber sandwiches into little rounds the same size as a slice of cucumber.

When your sandwiches are all made, stack them on plates or trays and cover them securely with plastic wrap and set them aside.  Just before serving you may arrange them on your serving plates and add whatever garnish you are using.

 

Picture of Benedictine Sandwiches Recipe

Cucumber Sandwiches:

Delicate yet crunchy little cucumber sandwiches are perhaps the simplest and most classic of all tea sandwiches.

Thin sliced white bread

Cream cheese, softened

English cucumber, cut into thin slices but not peeled

Butter, softened

Pepper to taste

 

Whip the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy.  Cut the cucumber into thin slices.  With a biscuit cutter, cut the read into rounds that are the same size as the cucumber slices.

 

Spread each round of bread with softened butter.  Then spread half the rounds with cream cheese.  Lay a slice of cucumber on the cream cheese covered rounds.  Top with a very light sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste and cover with the remaining rounds.  Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap until needed.

 

Watercress and Stilton Sandwiches:

 

This is another tea sandwich classic.  The zippy taste of the watercress and the pungency of the Stilton combine to make these little sandwiches surprisingly delicious.  Stilton is usually quite expensive and sometimes difficult to find.  Any good quality blue cheese may be substituted.

cucumberteasandwich

Stilton or other blue cheese
Cream cheese, softened
Thin sliced bread

Softened butter
Fresh ground black pepper
Fresh watercress, washed and stemmed

Mash the stilton; add an equal amount of cream cheese and whip until soft and well blended.

Butter the bread and spread half the slices with the cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with pepper to taste.  Lay the watercress leaves evenly on the cheese-covered slices.  Top with the remaining slices and cut off the crusts.  Cut each sandwich into four equal triangles.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until needed.

 

teasandsalmon

Smoked Salmon Sandwiches:

Smoked salmon sandwiches are an all-time favorite teatime specialty that should not b overlooked.  They will add a touch of elegance to any tea.  Smoked salmon is expensive but ou use very little of it.

Thin sliced bread
Butter, softened

Cream cheese, whipped
Boneless smoked salmon
(lox), very thinly sliced
Sweet purple onion, very thinly slivered
Radishes, very thinly sliced
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Spread the slices f bread with butter.  Then spread half of them with the whipped cream cheese.  Cover the cream cheese with very thin slices of smoked salmon.  Top with a wee bit of the slivered onion and a few slices of radish.  Sprinkle with pepper and top with the remaining buttered bread.  Trim off the crusts and cut into desired shapes.  Cover with plastic wrap until needed.

Chicken salad sandwiches:

Chicken salad sandwiches are an excellent way to use up any leftover roast chicken, even the one that came from the grocery store rotisserie.

About ½ cup finely chopped cooked chicken meat
1 tablespoon finely minced sweet purple onion
1 tablespoon finely minced celery
About 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh dill weed

Curried Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches from Southern Living

A pinch of ground nutmeg
A pinch of cayenne
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
Mayonnaise or favorite commercial
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Mix the first seven ingredients together well.  Then add just enough mayonnaise to make into a spreadable consistency.  Season to taste with black pepper.  Use this on buttered bread to make tea sandwiches.  Cut the sandwiches into desired shapes, and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Menu tea sandwiches 1

Crab or Shrimp Salad Sandwiches:

Crabmeat and shrimp sandwiches have long been a favorite with people on holiday at the seaside.

About ½ cup finely chopped cooked crab or shrimp meat
About 2 teaspoons of finely minced green onion

1 teaspoon finely minced fresh dill weed
Mayonnaiseor favorite commercial
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Mix the first four ingredients together well.  Season to taste with lemon juice and pepper.  Use this spread on buttered bread to make tea sandwiches.  Cut into desired shapes and cover with plastic wrap until needed.

Egg Salad Sandwiches:

3 or 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped sweet purple onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
¼ teaspoon curry powder
Mayonnaise or favorite commercial
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Chicken Salad and Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches by catmegz.

Using the back of a wooden spoon, force the eggs through a sieve.  If you have a potato ricer, you could use that instead.  Gently mix the now fluffy eggs with the onion, celery and chives.  Blend the curry powder with mayonnaise and add enough to the egg mixture to make into a spreadable consistency.  Spread on buttered thin sliced bread to make egg salad tea sandwiches.  Cut into desired shapes and cover with plastic wrap until needed.


Ham and Chutney Sandwiches:

This combination dates from the Victorian era when such exotic things as chutney were brought back from England’s occupation of India.  It makes delicious tea sandwiches.

Your favorite chutney
Thin sliced white bread

Butter, softened
Ham, very thinly sliced
*
Sweet purple onion, very thinly slivered

Put the chutney in a blender or food processor and puree.  Spread on slices of buttered bread.  Top the chutney with thin slices of ham and top the ham with a light scattering of the thinly slivered onion.  Top each with another slice of buttered bread.  Trim off the crusts and cut into desired shapes.  Cover with plastic wrap until needed.

* It is best to use very thinly sliced baked whole ham, not packaged processed ham or any ham by-product.

A Few Open Face Tea Sandwiches:


Here are a few delectable ideas for open-face tea sandwiches.  Don’t think they are the be-all and end-all.  Be creative and I’m sure you can come up with many more of your own.

1.  Spread toasted bread rounds with cream cheese mixed with chutney and top each with nasturtiums blossom.  Do not use sprayed flowers or those sold by florists.

2.  Spread brown bread rounds with cream cheese and chutney and top with a walnut half.

3.  Spread bread rounds with softened blue cheese, cut into desired shapes and top each with thin slices of fresh, cored pear.  Sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice to keep the pear from tuning brown.

4.  Cover buttered bread with thin slices of extra-sharp Cheddar cheese.  Cut into desired shapes and top with a dollop of chutney and add garnish each with a walnut half.

5.  Cut buttered bread into desired shapes.  Cover each with thin, thin slices of smoked salmon.  Top each with a wee dollop of Tartar sauce and garnish each with a sprig of fresh dill, a paper thin slice of radish and a sliver of fresh lemon.

6.  Spread buttered bread with softened Brie.  Cut into desired shapes and top each with a fanned strawberry.

7.  Cut buttered bread into desired shapes.  Top each with thin, thin slices of smoked turkey breast.  Garnish with a half a small cherry tomato and two or three pieces of chive.

8.  Cut buttered bread into desired shapes.  Top each with a decorative arrangement of cooked baby shrimp.  Garnish with a very small dollop of cocktail sauce, a sprig of fresh dill weed and a wee sliver of lemon.

The English Country Kitchen

 


        Copyright © 2008 - Geraldine Duncann

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