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Cucumber-Watercress Tea Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches, like those you might find in a British-style teahouse, should be as petite and thin as possible. Loaves of thinly sliced sandwich bread, available at most grocery stores, are perfect for making these traditional teatime offerings.

Ingredients:

  • 32 thin slices peeled English (hothouse)
     cucumber
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room
     temperature
  • 8 thin slices white sandwich bread
  • 1/2 cup watercress leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup radish, onion or sunflower
     sprouts (optional)
  • Coarse salt, preferably fleur de sel, to taste

Directions:

Using paper towels, pat the cut surfaces of the cucumber slices to remove any excess moisture. Lightly butter one side of each bread slice. Scatter the 1/2 cup watercress leaves evenly over all of the buttered bread slices. Layer the cucumber slices over the watercress leaves on 4 of the bread slices. Top the cucumber with some of the sprouts and a pinch of salt. Top with the remaining 4 bread slices, buttered side down.

Using a sharp knife, cut off the crusts from each sandwich and then slice the sandwiches in half, either straight down the middle or on the diagonal. If smaller portions are desired, cut each half in half again.

Arrange the sandwiches on separate plates of a tiered plate stand or on a cake stand or platter. Garnish each sandwich with a watercress leaf. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, Edited by Chuck Williams (Oxmoor House, 2004).