Friday, February 23, 2007

Finger Sandwiches Fit For a Queen

Copyright 2007 by Cooking With The Single Guy

Cucumber Celery Sandwich

1 English cucumber, sliced paper thin (with skin still on)
1 stalk of celery, chopped into fine slices or bits
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup of walnuts, chopped into bits
White bread

Salmon with Wasabi Cream Cheese

12 oz. salmon lox
8 oz. cream cheese
1 T wasabi powder
Wheat bread

For the two types of finger sandwiches above, start by preparing the cream cheese mixture. In one bowl, mix cream cheese with celery and walnut bits. Set aside.

In a second bowl, mix wasabi powder with a little bit of hot water (about 2 teaspoon) to create a paste. Wait about five minutes to let the wasabi flavor develop, then whisk in your second tub of cream cheese. Blend well and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

While you’re waiting for the wasabi cream cheese to set, start work on your cucumber celery sandwiches. Spread a thin layer of the celery-walnut cream cheese on both slices of white bread. Place thinly cut cucumber slices in between and cut into small sandwiches.

When done with cucumber sandwiches, start on your salmon. Spread a thin layer of wasabi cream cheese on both slices of wheat bread and place salmon lox slices in between. If you have leftover cucumber slices from your cucumber sandwiches, you can place some of those slices with your salmon. Cut into small sandwiches.

Each recipe makes about 18 finger sandwiches. Serve with black tea such as Earl Grey.

TIP: I suggest two different types of bread for the two types of sandwiches above because I think it looks nice to have different colors on the plate. But you can use whatever type of bread you have available. As always, a proper finger sandwich does not include the crust. So after you’ve added your ingredients, slice away the edges and cut your sandwiches into small pieces. You can make triangles or rectangles; it’s up to you. Wipe your sharp knife on a damp kitchen towel in between slices to avoid smearing your cream cheese all over the place. Also, to make it easier for you to make a clean cut of your bread slices, put the bread in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

WHAT’S UP WASABI?: I’m a big fan of wasabi, especially with fish. But you need to decide how much is enough to get the message across without bringing your guests to tears. You can adjust the tablespoon I recommend above to your preference, either adding more or less wasabi powder. Test on a little bit of cream cheese first to determine your taste. Keep in mind that the wasabi intensity reduces after it’s been refrigerated for awhile. Also, you’re only spreading a thin layer onto the bread so you want enough of the wasabi to be detectable in small amounts.

NO SLICE LEFT UNSPREAD: I recommend that you place a thin layer of the spread on both slices of bread. That’s because the cream cheese will help keep you bread adhered to your main ingredient, whether it’s the cucumber slices or lox. In traditional finger sandwich recipes, some people spread a thin layer of butter to act as an adhering agent.


Anonymous said...

These were the hit of our Oscar party! -- Ann

Chef Ben said...

Thanks Ann! I had fun last night, even though I was near bottom in the Oscar pool! :(

FYI for people who might be making this in the future, I ended up using dark rye bread for the salmon sandwiches, which emphasized even more the contrast with the white bread. And I saw fresh watercress in the market that was nice and flat, so that was a different twist to the recipe I posted earlier. Experiment with what you find at the market!

Anonymous said...

These sandwiches were delicious and delicate, Ben, and beautifully presented at David & Ann's Oscar soiree. Great to see you! --Alison