Recipe: Cucumber Sandwiches

bridal lunch

Originally, I am from New Jersey, so while I’ve enjoyed a plethora of diverse foods, I’d never had a cucumber sandwich until moving south.  Growing up in an Italian/Ukranian household, there was always something interesting cooking…but not tea sandwiches.  It wasn’t until I was recruiting for a small, southern private college that I realized what a big deal these are in the south.  My territory was “Southern!”- Savannah, Charleston, Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville, Lexington, etc.  I began to notice that every college fair was preceded with a nice little hors d’oeuvres hour, complete with little old ladies from the local church who cooked up a storm for us weary, travelin’ souls.  Didn’t know you’d have to sit through a story for a recipe, huh?  Anyway, I continued to be met with three common items, regardless of the city I was in: cucumber tea sandwiches, ham biscuits, and pimento cheese sandwiches.  With our little cucumber garden pot overflowing this summer, I’ve cracked the code on my favorite tasting cucumber tea sandwich, out of Lexington, Kentucky.  A few items to note…cut the ends off of the cucumber before peeling; it reduces bitterness.  Whatever I’ve grown this summer had very small seeds, so there was no need for me to remove them.  Here it is:

  • 2-3 medium, fresh cucumbers (peeled, seeded if you desire)
  • 1 small or 3/4 medium yellow onion (not sweet)
  • 8oz brick of cream cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh dill sprigs
  • Rye or Pumpernickel bread (look for smaller, tea sandwich loaves)

Bring cream cheese to room temperature, or microwave approximately 25 seconds to soften.  This needs to be soft enough to hand-stir.  Peel cucumbers and grate into cream cheese.  Peel onion and grate into mixture.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your liking.  Add in a few springs of fresh, chopped dill, but go sparingly.  Stir until well mixed.  Refrigerate until firm.  Best to make about 1 day in advance, to allow the flavors to absorb, which is why it is critical to go sparingly on the dill.

When ready to serve, spread the mixture onto the sandwich bread, remove crusts, and cut into triangles.  These are perfect for garden parties and bridal luncheons.  Enjoy!


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