Use day-old, thinly-sliced, square white loaves. Cut off the crusts and butter the bread sparingly, using soft butter so the slices don't break. Add a modest amount of filling, and no more; two tablespoons per slice of any of the fillings below is sufficient. Spread the filling, add any garnish, and place another slice on top. Using a long, sharp knife, make an X-cut to get four smaller triangular sandwiches. Add a couple of long toothpicks to help stabilize while you are cutting. Place the cut sandwiches on a serving platter, and cover with a damp napkin. Refrigerate for at least four hours.
Fillings: Mix up a small batch of three of four of your favorite sandwich fillings. You can use a curried egg salad (the usual mayo and eggs but add 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder,) tuna salad with lots of celery, deviled ham with some extra mayo, scrimp salad, etc. Try to pick out flavors that will taste well together. Some popular combos are:
Anchovy Butter and Greek Olives: Combine 1 ounce of anchovy fillets, 2 tablespoons of butter, and a pinch of black pepper in a small food-processor. Spread very thinly on the bread, and add a layer of finely-sliced pitted Greek olives on top.
Boiled chicken and ham: Thinly sliced, with mustard.
Avocado slices: with Dijon mustard dressing and chives.
Tomato slices with basil.
And, of course, cucumber.
When making such sandwiches keep in mind that the bread should be sliced thinly and served without crusts. The sandwich should be large enough for only two bites and, even though many people serve sandwiches cut in the shape of stars, crescents and other odd shapes, it is far more elegant for sandwiches to be cut in thin rectangular, triangular, round or square shapes. As to the choice of bread, white bread, challah, light rye bread, Danish pumpernickel and dark Russian bread make the best tea sandwiches. As to fillings for the choices are virtually infinite. Consider some of the following:
* Cream cheese used in tea sandwiches should have a minimum fat content of 16%.
Start with dense high quality breads like pumpernickel, rye, whole wheat sliced thinly. Assemble your tea sandwiches and then store in the refrigerator. Arrange on a serving platter when ready to eat, use flowers or cut herbs to garnish.
Cranberry Fingers: Mix some Dijon mustard in whole cranberry sauce, flavor to taste. spread on the bread on then add a small slice of smoked turkey, add top layer of bread.
Salmon and Dill Spread: Buttered bread with softened cream cheese which has dried dill added to it. Lay a very thin piece of salmon or lox on the cream cheese. Garnish with a fresh tiny sprig of dill.
Lavender Egg Salad: Chop 4 hard boiled eggs, mix in 1 ounce of mayonnaise and 1 ounce of plain yogurt. Mix in 1 teaspoon of curry powder and 1 tablespoon dried lavender buds. Spread on your bread and top with a green olive.
Celery-Nut: Whip a soft block of cream cheese with 1/4 cup of milk; add 1/2 cup of celery and 1/2 chopped walnuts and spread on your whole wheat bread.
Pineapple Cream: Thin a block of cream cheese with 1/4 cup of milk, and then add 1 cup of finely chopped pineapple and spread on Boston Brown Bread.
Apricot Ham Finger Sandwich: Mix 3 parts of cream cheese with 1 part of apricot preserves. Spread on your bread and then top with thinly sliced ham. Garnish with a 1/4 sliver of dried apricot. You can also use cherry preserves in place of the apricot
Spring Radish: Butter slices of pumpernickel bread and add thinly sliced radishes, a slice of bread and then some more radishes.
Cucumber Sandwiches: Mix seasoned salt into your butter then butter your bread of choice. Add thinly sliced cucumbers that have been dried by paper towels. Top with small sprig of parsley.
And last but not least ideas about the food which work well not just with the English teas but with our shower parties:
The food served at teas should be easy to eat and require neither forks nor knives. Tea canapes and foods that may be picked up and eaten with toothpicks are ideal for tea parties as are cookies, petits fours and miniature pastries such as eclairs and cream puffs. Instead of serving food on large platters, it is wise to use small or medium serving plates because they are easier to keep filled and looking neat.
Posted by philocrates at Recipe Goldmine 5/12/02 11:51:12 am.