This week we're covering an Afternoon Tea staple: the Cucumber Sandwich. The execution of a perfect cucumber sandwich is more difficult than you would think. The bread needs to be perfectly fresh and whether to peel the cucumber is a hotly-discussed topic. Luckily, we've got it covered, here at Elena's L'Etoile!
1/2 cucumber, peeled
6 thin slices of good white bread
Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1) Cut the cucumber into slices as thin as you can make them, and put in a colander or sieve. Sprinkle lightly with salt (don't go overboard) and leave for 20 minutes. Taste to check you haven't oversalted them: you can rinse them at this point if so.
2) Lay out a few pieces of kitchen paper on the work surface, place the cucumber slices on them, and pat dry with more paper.
3) Lay out the bread and butter each slice generously. Arrange the cucumber on half the slices, overlapping each round, and sprinkle with ground white pepper. Top with the remaining slices.
4) Pressing down firmly, cut the crusts off, and then cut into neat fingers, triangles or quarters of roughly equal sizes. Serve immediately, with good tea.
Cucumber sandwiches: are you a fan, or are they a silly Victorian affectation that deserves to go the way of the top hat and the whalebone corset? And if not, what do you like to do with this most refreshing of vegetables?