Under the Apron Strings: Cucumber Sandwiches
On a trip to London, Alton and I stayed in The Rubens at the Palace in Westminster. There we enjoyed Royal Afternoon Tea (pictured above) in a perfect English setting – overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.
The food was excellent, but the cucumber sandwich was my favorite, of course. Served in a traditional style, the sliced cucumbers and cream cheese sandwiched between slices of caraway seed bread were a standout – quite different, but none better, than the favorite we serve at home.
In the South, summer bridal showers and teas are not complete without these cucumber sandwiches served on a doily-lined glass platter and accompanied by fruit tea (page 137 of my book Servin’ Up Summer) served in proper cups with your pinkie finger in the air!
1 package of cream cheese (8 ounces), softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped *
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 medium cucumber, scored and thinly sliced (use a zester/scorer to score the sides of the cucumber before slicing)
35 slices (approximately) of fresh white or wheat bread
In small mixing bowl, mix well cream cheese, mayonnaise and garlic powder with a wooden spoon.
Add in chopped cucumber.
Using a 2- or 3-inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter, cut out circles in the bread, reserving the edges for croutons (below).
Spread one side of bread circles with cream cheese mixture. Top each sandwich with a thinly sliced and scored cucumber.
Garnish with dill or any fresh herb available.
Sandwiches can be prepared, covered and stored up to a day ahead.
Don’t throw away the edges left from the cut bread. Use to make croutons. Cut the bread into cubes (approximately 6 cups). Toss cubes in 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt (op-tional). Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in 375-degree oven until golden, 8-10 minutes. To brown evenly, stir once or twice during baking.
To seed a cucumber,
slice it in half lengthwise,
then slide a small spoon down the center to remove the seeds