photo: Love+Craft Kitchen
Watercress, a tender, slightly peppery, leafy green superfood, has been used in tea or “finger” sandwiches for centuries. Original tea sandwiches were extremely simple – bread (crusts removed), butter, a fresh vegetable or green, salt and pepper. They were meant as a light snack to bridge the gap between lunch and late-evening dinner.
Today, tea sandwiches are oftentimes composed of more substantial fillings and served for luncheons or other special events. The tradition of crust-less bread, a layer of butter, the use of watercress and presentation of delicate shapes still holds strong.
Just in time for Spring, this recipe features watercress paired with Chicken-Artichoke Salad, making a lovely tea sandwich filling. For best flavor and texture, use young watercress shoots harvested in early Spring or new growth in Fall.
Yield: 4 cups chicken salad
¼ cup sour cream
¼+ cup mayo
½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh tarragon (or ½ teaspoon dried)
1 – 1 ½ cups artichoke hearts (frozen or water packed; not marinated), drained, rinsed, patted dry, finely chopped
2 cups cooked chicken, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 green onion, finely diced
1/8 – ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
soft, thin-sliced sandwich bread (white, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, sour dough, brioche)
- In small mixing bowl, place the sour cream, mayo, mustard, cheese, lemon juice, garlic powder, and tarragon. Whisk together to combine thoroughly.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the chopped artichoke hearts, chicken, celery, green onions, salt and pepper. Add the dressing and mix gently, but well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Place the chicken salad into a sealed container and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
Assemble Tea Sandwiches:
- Lay slices of soft sandwich bread flat on cutting board. Cleanly cut off the crusts with a sharp knife.
- Spread a thin layer of butter on one side of each slice of bread, all the way to the edge.
- Place a small amount of filling on one slice of bread and spread in a thin layer to the edge of the bread.
- Place the other slice of bread on top (butter-side down), pressing gently to seal together.
- Cut sandwiches into desired shapes – squares, triangles, circles, other – using a sharp knife or cookie or biscuit cutter. (As a general rule, sandwiches should be approximately “two fingers thick”.)
- Arrange tea sandwiches on a serving plate or platter. If not serving immediately, place a lightly moistened paper towel or tea towel over top to avoid drying out.
More Filling Ideas for Watercress Tea Sandwiches:
- cucumber, radish, watercress, butter, herb cream cheese, salt, pep
- apple, brie, watercress, butter
- goat cheese, watercress, butter, finely chopped pecans
- mortadella, watercress, butter, olive spread
- smoked salmon, cucumber, watercress, butter, savory cream cheese
- turkey or chicken, avocado, watercress, butter, pesto mayonnaise
- smoked trout, watercress, butter, dill-chive mayonnaise
- crab, shrimp or tuna salad, watercress, butter
- radish, watercress, butter, salt pepper
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