Why It Works
- Salting the cucumber slices for 20 minutes seasons them whereas extracting extra moisture.
- A skinny layer of European-style cultured butter or cream cheese provides a welcome tangy taste to the fragile cucumber.
Chilly and refined. No, I’m not describing English royalty, however one thing that’s arguably simply as intellectual in id: Cucumber sandwiches. Let’s not tiptoe round it, it is a sandwich steeped in a historical past of colonialism. A preferred origin story goes that British troopers stationed in India within the mid 1800s would wash cucumber sandwiches (cucumbers being home to India) down with sizzling tea (stated to be extra refreshing than icy cool water) to maintain cool and refreshed in an unfamiliar sizzling local weather.
For a time within the Victorian period these have been actually solely a tasty snack of the rich in England—having access to cucumbers was tough and costly and the sandwich’s lack of sustenance was one thing to revere for these lucky sufficient to leisurely lounge their afternoon away, not requiring a “stick-to your-ribs” meal. Later, within the early 1900s, it turned popularized with elevated industrialization and the flexibility to develop cucumbers in hothouses nearer to house, permitting entry to cucumbers to the lots.
There are fewer limitations and obstacles to the snack now, since English cucumbers can be found in most grocery shops in lots of international locations, but it surely nonetheless has robust associations with British-style excessive tea service. The cucumber sandwich could have descended from its pedestal, but it surely nonetheless reserves its seat there.
My connection to the sandwich falls in step with its intellectual origins. Rising up in Philadelphia, my publicity to cucumber sandwiches was restricted to the very uncommon event when my mother would forcibly wrangle me right into a gown for an outing to a flowery tea parlor. As a child I’d often ignore the dainty cucumber sandwiches, extending my arm previous them for the scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, petit forts, and different lovable miniature candy treats.
Now as an grownup, I worth the understated chew of a cucumber sandwich. Crisp, cooling, and…little extra. They’re refreshing served on their very own on a sizzling summer season’s day, or as a easy chew nestled into the buffet line at a luncheon, child bathe, or brunch unfold.
We don’t stray removed from the anticipated taste pairings on this recipe, as an alternative preferring to rejoice its simplicity: thinly sliced English cucumbers, a skinny slather of salted cultured butter to moisten and faintly season the gentle white bread, and never a lot else. For those who’re feeling completely wild and need to incorporate (gasp) taste into this sandwich, go for recent dill, a pure pairing with cucumber that enhances its recent attraction, or an Americanized strategy with cream cheese (whipped is simpler to unfold).
The one further step we did incorporate to enhance this sandwich is salting the cucumbers upfront. Taking a couple of additional minutes to salt and let the cucumbers drain in a colander earlier than constructing the sandwich is nicely price it. In a short while the salt will draw out extra moisture from the cucumber slices to pay attention their taste and make sure the assembled sandwiches is not going to flip soggy whereas poised in show.
Whether or not loved ceremoniously to your personal at-home excessive tea service, or loved solo as a fast and lightweight chew, simply keep in mind: pinkies up. (Or not, no matter, it’s your sandwich.)
This recipe was developed by Catherine Jessee; the headnote was written by Leah Colins.
Cool, crisp, refreshing, and… little or no extra.
1/4 unpeeled english cucumber (3 ounces, 85g), sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; for desk salt, use about half as a lot by quantity
1 teaspoon recent lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons recent dill, non-obligatory
8 skinny slices white sandwich bread
5 tablespoons (71g) salted European-style cultured butter, softened, or 1/3 cup (57g) whipped cream cheese (see notes)
In a colander, toss cucumbers with salt and set over a bowl; let stand uncovered at room temperature for 20 minutes. Shake colander to empty off extra liquid and gently pat cucumbers dry with paper towels. In an empty bowl, toss dried cucumber slices with the lemon juice and dill (if utilizing); put aside till prepared to make use of.
In the meantime, use a serrated knife to trim crusts from bread slices to type roughly 2 1/2– by 2 1/2–inch bread squares.
Unfold butter or cream cheese evenly on 1 aspect of every bread slice. Prime half of the buttered bread slices with the cucumber slices (about 6 cucumber slices per bread slice). Prime with the remaining bread slices, buttered sides down. Press down gently on sandwiches to stick fillings.
Utilizing a pointy knife, minimize every sandwich into triangles and organize attractively on a serving platter. Serve instantly.
Colander, serrated knife
If utilizing cream cheese on this recipe, I like to recommend utilizing Philadelphia Unique Whipped cream cheese. The acidity and tang of the cream cheese pairs nicely with the mildly flavored cucumber, whereas the whipped model spreads simply on the bread with out tearing it.
This recipe can simply be scaled up or down to fit your serving wants.
Make-Forward and Storage
The ready sandwiches will be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for as much as 6 hours.