I have a group of friends that loves throwing fancy picnics, and consequently I have found it necessary to learn how to make cucumber sandwiches. Last weekend I brought a batch of them to a lovely ladies-only picnic in Dolores Park. We played croquet, drank beer out of tiny teacups and gorged on strawberries, Cowgirl Creamery cheese, and of course itsy bitsy sandwiches with the crusts cut off (including startlingly delicious combinations like spam and eggs). All in all a wonderful afternoon.
Photo by Rachel Bunkers-Harmes
Our fearless leader, Jane Davis, takes a shot. Photo by Rachel Bunkers-Harmes
There are many different variations on cucumber sandwiches, but I opted for a very simple version. I find the simplicity of flavors delightful! I pulled together this recipe for cucumber sandwiches from several sources on the internet, though I have long since lost them (sorry!). The key to cucumber sandwiches is timing. You can’t make them more than a half-hour ahead of time or they’ll get soggy.
Dainty Cucumber Sandwiches (for a proper tea time)
1 loaf white bread – I like Orowheat Country Potato for its slight buttery flavor (though it’s actually vegan)
1 large cucumber, peeled
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 stick of salted butter, room temperature – you can use Earth Balance if you’re vegan.
- An hour and a half before you want to serve the sandwiches, pull the butter out of the fridge so it warms to room temperature. In a non-reactive (ceramic) bowl, mix the vinegar and the salt together. Slice the peeled cucumber very thinly and toss it with the vinegar/salt mix. Let it marinate for 1 hour, tossing occasionally.
- Drain and rinse the cucumber slices. In a single layer, place them on paper towels to soak up the excess moisture, patting the tops dry.
- Butter one side of the bread. Evenly distribute cucumber rounds in a single layer on top. Place a second slice of bread on top of that. Cut off crusts. Cut the remaining rectangle in half, then cut each of the halves diagonally. Each sandwich will produce four perfect triangles.
- Arrange artfully on a tray and serve to your most proper friends at tea time. Secretly devour the crusts when they’re not looking.