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How to make cucumber sandwiches?

I am a teacher and occasionally teach Oscar Wilde's play "The Importance of Being Earnest," which has a scene revolving importantly around cucumber sandwiches. (One character's insatiable eating of them is a plot point in the play.) Last time teaching, I decided actually to make some. But I frankly found them just so-so. I wonder how much better might they be?

Here's what I did last time: I purchased Pepperidge Farms thin-sliced white sandwich bread; I buttered the slices (with Land o' Lakes unsalted, maybe?); I put thin, peeled and lightly salted cucumber slices inside two bread slices; and I cut the bread into triangles for serving. Is that the real deal?

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  1. I don't know if it the real deal or not either, but here's what I do when catering a tea luncheon or wedding.

    1 8 oz package cream cheese
    3 tablespns mayo
    1/2 onion grated
    1 English cucumber unpared and sliced thin

    Combine cream cheese and mayo. Add onion. Chill overnight before using. Spread on small party rye bread or rounds cut from plain sandwich bread. Top with one slice of cucumber. Garnish with parsley or chopped dill weed.

    4 Replies
    1. re: vafarmwife

      I can see how that would have a lot more flavor!

      You leave the peel on the cuke?

      1. re: Bada Bing

        yes- it gives nice color. ANd since you slice them very very very thinly- almost so thin you can see through them, you're not getting a mouthful of peel.

        1. re: Bada Bing

          Sometimes I peel half of the cucumber--either entirely on one side or in stripes. Either peeling method makes an interesting bit of design flair when you slice the cucumbers.

        2. re: vafarmwife

          I also added some dry ranch dressing mix to the cream cheese mayo mix to give it a little kick and I've also used the cream cheese with the veggies in it and left out the onion.

        3. I make them with Boursin (garlic/herb cheese spread) in place of the Butter or cream cheese/mayo.

          1. I get a lot of requests for this recipe (has a garlicy hit):

            Cream cheese mixture:
            - Cream cheese
            - finely chopped garlic (maybe 1 clove for 8 oz)
            - chopped dill
            - salt
            - squeeze of lemon juice

            Nuke the cream cheese a few seconds so it's easier when you mix the ingredients. Let the mixture meld in the fridge overnight. Nuke the mixture a few seconds again so it's easier to spread. Then spread it on one side of sandwich (usually plain old sliced white) then add a thin layer of thinly sliced english (hot house cucumbers). I don't peel the cucumber completely, but alternate the peel in strips so it looks a little nicer. I also cut off the crusts then cut intro triangles.

            1. What you describe is pretty much the real deal, although I'd probably use Kerrygold over Land o' Lakes, and an English (hothouse seedless) cuke. The Brits sometimes add watercress to the sandwich.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mcsheridan

                OP: Don't forget the salt and pepper! Be generous with the pepper for the plain cucumber sandwich you described.

              2. In Ky this is what we do

                •1 large cucumber
                •8 ounces cream cheese
                •2 tablespoons grated onion
                •1 tablespoon mayonnaise
                •1/8 teaspoon salt
                •Dash green food coloring
                Peel, seed and grate the cucumber. Drain by pressing grated cucumber between paper towels. Place in food processor along with cream cheese, onion, mayonnaise and salt. Add food coloring, one drop at a time, until mixture is light, bright green. Spread mixture between two pieces of white, crustless bread and cut into triangles

                1 Reply
                1. re: LaLa

                  I saw these vibrantly-green-edged sandwiches at a church supper in Saratoga, New York! Perhaps the sandwich maker was from Kentucky?

                2. I use mayo and watercress. I also make a more elaborate sandwich and add swiss cheese and avocado, which is not traditional but is delicious.

                  1. As an actor who has performed in "The Importance of Being Ernest", I have to commend you for attempting to make your edible props actually taste good.

                    I, too, have tried cucumber sandwiches at home using a method similar to yours, expecting to enjoy a crisply refreshing treat, and have ended up producing something dull at best. Thanks for this thread and the tips. I'll definitely give it another try.

                    1. I used to eat a lot of cucumber sandwiches as a kid. Plenty of butter, sliced cucumber, salt and freshly ground pepper. You can use cream cheese instead of butter if you like. Mayo has no place on a cucumber sandwich.

                      Oh, and I'm not familiar with Pepperidge Farms bread, but these work best with a not-too-sweet sandwich bread.

                      1. lightly toasted bread. thin layer of mayo. thind round of cucumber. sprinkled with Cavender's greek seasoning.

                        1. As a Brit I will chime in and say that cucumber sandwiches are white bread, salted butter, salt and pepper and thinly sliced English cukes. Nothing else, no cream cheese or mayo. But the bread must be thinly sliced and not sweet tasting as most American breads are to our palate!
                          They are boring though.

                          1. The OP asks if what they did was the "real deal". Yes, it is.

                            It's a great sandwich in amongst the other standards of a classic British afternoon tea - along with smoked salmon, ham & mustard, egg mayo & cress. On their own, they're waste of space.

                            1. Two suggestions that I think helps...
                              First, lay the slices on a paper towel and gently place another on top to dry the slice. They stick to the butter better and don't fall apart if you make the sandwiches small.
                              Second, soften the butter and added minced fresh mint- the mint and cucumber play off one another nicely. Let it sit for a few hours before spreading it on to let the mint work itself in.

                              1. If making the standard sandwich with just buttered bread and cukes, I salt the cukes, let them drain and then pat them dry before proceeding.

                                1. I use a soft goat cheese mixed with a little soft butter,salt and pepper with the thinly shaved cucumbers on thin white bread with the crust trimmed off. The goat cheese gives it a little tang