These cucumbers stay crisp well into the next day. Your base could be butter or cream cheese that’s up to you. Preventing the cucumbers from turning soggy is the key. There are just 3 ingredients in these sandwiches: cucumbers, salt and butter/cream cheese. Add pepper if you like but it really does not need anything else. Keeping this sandwich simple is an especially good idea if you intend to serve it alongside other savoury tea sandwiches. Please scroll down to bottom of this post for my entire tea spread with links to recipes.
Crisp Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
|Makes:||8 finger sandwiches|
|Can recipe be doubled?||Yes.|
|Make ahead?||Yes, a day ahead, well covered in the refrigerator.|
9 oz (250 g) cucumbers*
Salting the cucumbers
1. Slice the cucumbers as thinly as you can manage at a slight diagonal. I find a mandolin the best tool here.
2. Transfer the sliced cucumbers into a colander that has been placed over a bowl. Sprinkle salt over the cucumbers and toss briefly. Set aside for 5 minutes. No longer or it will get too salty and soggy.
Buttering the bread
1. While waiting, lightly butter all 8 slices of bread. If you are using cream cheese, skip the butter and spread on cream cheese instead. Cream cheese must be completely soften before you try to spread it. If not, it will be difficult to spread and you will likely tear the bread up trying to do so. Set aside. Cover with kitchen towel so they do not dry out.
1. Taste a cucumber slice. It should be just slightly salty. Some liquid from the cucumbers would have collected in the bowl. Gently squeeze the cucumbers. Squeeze out just 1 Tablespoons of liquid. Do not be tempted to squeeze out more. Discard liquid. Use kitchen paper towels to gently blot up excess liquid off cucumbers. You should have 1 and 1/2 cups of sliced cucumbers. The slight salting and squeezing out of excess liquid helps keep your sandwiches from becoming soggy. If you over salt and over squeeze them, you will get rather dry and leathery tasting cucumbers. Don’t over squeeze.
2. If you are not using Japanese Kyuri cucumbers and have removed the cucumber skins, be gentler when you squeeze out access liquid from them.
Assembling the tea sandwiches
1.Set 4 bread slices on your work surface. Overlap the cucumber slices, working up to 2 or 3 layers of overlapping cucumbers per bread slice. It depends on how thin you were able to slice your cucumbers to begin with. It might just be in my head, but the uniformity of the arrangement seems to give the sandwiches a more pronounced crunch with every bite. Cover the sandwiches with the 4 remaining bread slices. Trim the crusts off.
2. Slice each sandwich into 2. You will have 8 finger sandwiches. They are refreshing, clean tasting and crunchy at the same time and as I mentioned, they don’t go soggy. Big plus point!
How do you keep your sandwiches from drying out?
Cover them with a damp tea towel, store in an air tight container and refrigerate.
How do you transport your sandwiches?
1. Choose an air tight container. I like to reuse a pretty biscuit tin.
2. Line the tin with your best tea towel and let the ends drape over the box. Fill with sandwiches.
3. Line the top with a damp neutral coloured tea towel. Fold over the ends of your best tea towel. Cover biscuit tin with its lid.
4. If for any reason you need the sandwiches to stay cooler for a longer period in the biscuit tin, here is what I do.
5. Lay a tea towel on a kitchen counter. Place a shallow tray or the inverted lid of a plastic box that can fit the bottom of the biscuit tin on the tea towel. Set your pre-chilled chiller/cooler pack on the tray/plastic lid. Neatly fold over the loose ends of the tea towel over the tray/plastic lid and chiller/cooler pack and you will have made yourself an iced package.
6. Face the loose ends down and place at the bottom of the biscuit tin. The flat side of the tray/plastic lid will serve as the base to lay your best tea towel before your lay your sandwiches. Continue as mentioned in the steps above.
7. Alternatively, wrap the cooler packs in aluminium foil, set it at the bottom of tin and proceed as mentioned in the steps above.
8. Remember to remove the damp tea towel before serving.
WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?
Victoria Sponge Cake, which is on the first plate from top. Links to recipes of all food items you see on cake plater is directly below.
Top plate: Classic Victoria Sponge Cake sandwich with strawberry jam and buttercream icing, Checkerboard Cookies, Sweet Milk Scones.
Bottom layer of sandwiches from left to right: Roast Beef with Beetroot Tea Sandwiches, Smoked Salmon with Dill Butter Tea Sandwiches, Ham with Honey Butter Tea Sandwiches.
Top layer of sandwiches from left to right: Egg and Cress Tea Sandwiches, Roast Beef with Beetroot Tea Sandwiches, Crisp Cucumber Tea Sandwiches.