Three for Tea
Dainty tea sandwiches are the hallmark of wedding and baby showers, but they also make a nice appetizer, especially before Easter dinner.
Photography by James Stefiuk
If tea sandwiches define the English afternoon tea, why is a Southern girl like me making them? I am sharing my tea sandwich recipes because Easter is around the corner and these are great to offer hungry guests and active children while everyone waits for dinner to be served. Whether they are served with or without the crust, cut lengthwise or in triangles, the tea sandwich knows it is always eaten before the sweets.
I was at a wedding shower in Hickory, North Carolina, when I was first served tea sandwiches. It was springtime and we were all outside sipping tea and nibbling on these delicacies. There was only one type of tea sandwich served at this shower and that was the all-familiar cucumber variety. Although there was nothing spectacular about the flavors or the presentation on a big silver platter, they were dainty and filling. I thought, I can certainly take these to the next level with Southern flair.
Traditionally, the cucumber tea sandwich includes buttered white bread with thinly sliced English cucumbers. I put a Southern twist on that by using cream cheese instead of butter and the addition of lemon juice and lemon zest to create a delicate option that packs a lot more flavor on white bread. I have also provided a version with egg salad that is sweet and palatable on wheat bread. Lastly, I have offered an avocado version with a roasted red pepper aioli that packs a punch on whole grain bread. You can certainly put your own spin on these sandwiches by including smoked salmon on pumpernickel or tuna salad on sourdough. Tea sandwiches allow for a lot of creativity, are elegant and are easy to eat with your fingers, which is why they are so often served at baby and bridal showers.
Offer your friends and family these filling yet simple treats the next time you host a shower or before your Easter dinner. Just remember, they are to be eaten before the sweets come out — it’s tradition.