July 26th, 2011

Cucumber Avocado Tea Sandwiches With Dill & Mint

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Serves 4 to 6
Time: 30 minutes || Active time: 20 minutes

Tea Sandwiches

For the new season, I’ve begun a tradition called True Blood Mondays. While the point was to hang out with friends and cook food inspired by the TV show, it’s just too hot to make a vegan human heart pot pie. So tea sandwiches will have to do! And, as someone on Twitter pointed out, you could definitely see Sookie Stackhouse serving these at a party.

But whether or not you’re serving fangbangers, tea sandwiches are fun to mess around with and fill with whatever you fancy. I like to take classic sandwiches and pair them down into tea size – for instance, mini po boys, banh mis, and eggplant parm. But these are my take on tradition: cream cheese and cucumber tea sandwiches. Avocado ditches its guacamole trappings and instead, is infused with lemon, fresh dill and mint. The end result is a nod to the old foil-wrapped cream cheese brick, but a creamy, tangy, silky experience that is all its own.

For my money, white bread is a must, especially if you can get it fresh from a bakery. It provides a bright but neutral backdrop that let’s all the subtle flavors shine through. Layer the avocado spread with cucumber sliced as thin as you can get it, then remove the crusts (sneak a few into your mouth), load up your prettiest vintage plates, and you’re in tea sandwich business.

Oh, and you can’t have tea sandwiches without tea! I recommend Lady Grey. The hints of citrus are the perfect complement to fresh herbs.

Tip: Avocado browns very quickly, so prepare the filling as close to serving time as you can. If you do need it to sit around for awhile, place in a container along with the pits from the avocado, and squirt on a little extra lemon juice. Then place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the mixture. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. But even with this method, I don’t recommend letting it sit around for more than a few hours.

For the spread:
2 ripe avocados, kept cold in the fridge
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
2 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

To serve:
12 slices white bread
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced

First prepare the spread. Remove the pit from the avocados, and scoop into a food processor along with the lemon juice and salt. Puree until completely smooth, scraping down the sides ith a rubber spatula as necessary. Add the cucumber and pulse until cucumber is finely chopped. Add the mint and dill and pulse again so combine. You just want them well incorporated into the mid, not pureed.

Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or so to let the flavors marry, and then taste for salt and seasonings.

To assemble:
Arrange the sliced of bread on the counter. Spread the avocado mixture onto all 12 slices. Add a single layer of cucumber on 6 of the slices. Now close each sandwich. Use a steak knife to cut off the crusts. With a gentle touch (so as not to squish the filling out too much), cut each sandwich into 4 equal pieces, either squares or triangles. Serve topped with extra herbs, or lettuce. In this pic, I topped them with pea shoots.

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