Remembering the “cucumber” dishes of different countries and cuisines, it is impossible to ignore such a culinary phenomenon as a cucumber sandwich, which is served with tea. Nowadays it exists in two main versions: the original British and American versions.
Cucumber is a wonderful refreshing ingredient that can be combined with almost anything, and in the form of such a sandwich, it goes well with a cup of black tea.
What Is a Cucumber Tea Sandwich?
Cucumber sandwich is a classic afternoon tea sandwich, which everyone remembers first of all when they want to prepare a tea party in British traditions. Everything is simple with this dish, but nowadays there are also a lot of unusual variations of this sandwich, for example, from professional chefs.
Best Bread for Cucumber Sandwiches
For cucumber sandwiches in their most refined version (it is also a classic), it is white bread made from wheat flour of the highest grade. Although experiments are quite appropriate — as long as we are talking about natural bread without unnatural additives. Start with white, and then, if desired, try options with whole grain bread or bread made from mixed flour.
Best Cucumbers for Tea Sandwiches
For this sandwich, we need the so-called English cucumbers – long cucumbers.
If you can’t find such cucumbers, of course, you can use the fresh cucumbers that you found.
Swaps, Substitutions, and Suggestions
The key points in the English tea sandwich are soft white bread and thinly sliced cucumber. The classic version of the sandwich consists of three main components: bread, cucumber, and butter. In the American version of tea sandwiches, butter is replaced with Philadelphia-type cream cheese and ingredients such as dill, chives, lemon zest, and mayonnaise.
There are two cooking options and two main forms of serving cucumber sandwiches. The first option is in the form of triangles.
The second option is finger sandwiches and they can be served not only with tea. These serving options are common to any similar sandwiches, not just cucumber ones.
Steps to make the simplest cucumber sandwich:
1) Peel the cucumber and thinly slice it to fit the size of the selected bread slice.
2) Prepared cucumber slices should be spread out on a paper towel and lightly sprinkled with salt, then covered with another layer of paper towel on top and left for a while. This is mandatory if the sandwiches are not supposed to be served immediately, otherwise, they may get soaked from vegetable juice. Gourmets claim that this procedure also adds flavor to cucumbers. After that, the slices can be gently rinsed under running water or soaked with a paper towel if they are very thin.
3) Each bread slice, should be more or less close in shape to a square, should be smeared with softened butter (this is a mandatory procedure for British variants, but not for American ones). Put the prepared cucumbers on one slice, cover with a second slice, and press lightly.
4) With a sharp knife, carefully cut the bread crusts from all sides, and then cut the sandwich diagonally into 2 large triangles (and then also along another diagonal, if you need 4 small sandwiches). If you need a finger sandwich, everything is cut into 2-3 strips; in this case, a slice of bread can initially have any shape.