Tea Sandwich Basics
There are really no hard rules for tea sandwiches, except that they should be small, neat and look appetizing. But here are some basics that should get you started.
To make a nice and even crust trim, freeze the bread slightly before use.
Butter each side lightly with room temperature butter to the very edge, regardless of the filling choice. This prevents the sandwiches from becoming limp and soggy.
Cut crusts off with a bread knife after (not before) assembling sandwiches. This keeps everything neater. Don't be afraid to use cookie cutters as well. Although this will create more leftover crusts.
Tea sandwiches can be stored in a refrigerator overnight.
They go great with mini scones!
Tea Sandwich Ideas
Cucumber Tea Sandwich: Butter the bread and place inside very thinly sliced English cucumber slices. There is something so absolutely British and refreshing about this simple sandwich. If your child likes this one, over time you can add complementary tastes, like cream cheese, goat cheese, smoked salmon, ham, watercress, or just a thin slice of cheddar.
Chicken Salad Tea Sandwich: If you ever have any roast chicken leftovers, this calls for chicken salad reuse! To make a tea sandwich friendly chicken salad make sure you shred the chicken meat very finely. Add some mayonnaise to taste so that it binds the meat. Now you can get creative or adjust the flavors to what your child likes. How about adding some finely chopped grapes or celery? Or perhaps some dill or parsley? My kids also like when I add little pieces of crunchy walnut. They like the crunch factor.
Confetti Veggie Tea Sandwich: This is a great way to slip some secret veggies into your kids sandwiches. Simply shred some colorful veggies, like carrots, celery, peppers, radishes or cucumber. Mix some cream cheese or goat cheese with the shredded veggie mix. Add few drops of freshly squeezed lemon. Spread on the bread. It's actually pretty delicious and so colorful!
Mermaid/ Pirate Tea Sandwich: This sandwich took me by surprise, as I wasn't expecting my picky eater to like it at all! The recipe is very simple. Take some cottage cheese or cream cheese and mix it with canned sardines or tuna and few drops of lemon juice. You can also add some fresh herbs (like dill or parsley) or capers. But I would start your kids on just the plain mix and see what they think. I call them the Mermaid tea sandwiches...but they taste just as good when called Pirate Sandwiches!
Fruity Tea Sandwich: Don't feel like making scones and serving them with clotted cream and strawberry preserves on a side of your tea sandwiches? That's too bad. But you can replace that with tea sandwiches a la scones. It's really as simple as spreading the bread with some delicious strawberry or plum preserves. Adding cream cheese will just make it even more delicious. However, when in season, don't forget that fresh fruit like strawberries, work really well in sandwiches - especially when paired with a cream cheese or Nutella. Mhmmm.
Picky Eaters & Tea Sandwiches
The key with picky eaters is that they want foods SIMPLE. But tea sandwiches are actually a great way to persuade them to give more complicated tastes (like ham with cucumber) a bite. But as with everything, phasing them in works wonders. First get your children to try tea sandwiches in the way they like them. Perhaps it's just a bit of butter with ham. Or maybe only cream cheese. Once they respond well to the small size, try offering different fillings at once in the same lunchbox. Perhaps two mini sandwiches with cheese and two others with cucumber. If that works, how about combining the tastes and offering ham with cucumber, also sending some back-up sandwiches with just one filling. Just in case!