08 October 2007

Face Off: Vegetable Tea Sandwich

Time for the Face Off entry again, seeing as the oven is dead I thought it would be a good idea to go with something that didn't involve any sort of cooking (because with my luck, I'd break the stovetop and microwave as well). I planned on having one vegetable tea sandwich served at my friend's bridal shower, for all those vegetarians out there, so it seemed just the thing to try this week.

Cucumber Tea Sandwich

This is your classic, cucumber-and-spread, open-faced tea sandwich. It was also the recipe I liked the least, which was a huge surprise (I love cucumbers and this person's recipes are usually spot-on). The spread is made of a mixture of goat cheese, cream cheese, mayo, and some spices. And unfortunately, the goat cheese completely overpowered every other flavor in this sandwich. Oh no, it wasn't the creamy/tangy flavor that overpowered everything, it was that musty, earthly, faintly-mildewy flavor that really came out. While you can usually mask that particular quality with ingredients, this combination only seemed to enhance it. Not a lot of people like goat cheese specifically because of that musty taste, so I thought this was not quite the best way to go.

Sweet Onion Tea Sandwich

Now, I hear this is quite the classic tea sandwich, although I must admit by name alone I was not excited about it. This one surprised me the most, however: it has a creamy mayo spread with fresh tarragon and basil, and very thinly sliced Vidalia onion. The tangy herbed mayonnaise makes the onion even sweeter, so much that you would never guess it was actually raw onion if you didn't see it with your own eyes. However, the mayo-thing is not going to work for our poor Bride-to-be, and also: most people will see the onion and never touch these sandwiches. So, as impressed as I was with this tea sandwich, this recipe wasn't going to do, either.

Tomato Tea Sandwich

I tried this one first, and really thought it wouldn't work. I kinda made this one up on my own, using about 5 different pesto/tomato/goat cheese recipes. I thought all three were good flavors but couldn't find any recipes with all three together, so I improvised a bit. And surprise, it was actually very good! It is a simple tea sandwich, two thin slices of bread with basil pesto spread on one side, and plain goat cheese on the other. A nice juicy tomato slice is the only sandwich filler.

The pesto is bright and the goat cheese tastes very mild and creamy (no musty/earthy taste, yay!). The tomatoes, which I let drain on paper towels beforehand, were just right to balance the two spreads. I think this one is a winner.

Tomato tea sandwiches

2 c. basil leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 (5-oz.) log of plain goat cheese, softened to room temperature
6-8 tomatoes, sliced and drained on paper towels
40-ish thin slices of white bread

To make the pesto: Toast the pine nuts in a sauté pan, then cool. In a food processor, combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts. Pulse until finely chopped. Slowly add olive oil to mixture while in food processor, pulsing to emulsify the mixture (you want it thick yet smooth; add more oil if necessary). Place basil mixture into a bowl, and stir in Parmesan cheese.

To assemble sandwiches: Cut bread slices with a biscuit cutter, to make bread circles. Spread one side of 20 circles of bread with the pesto. Spread the goat cheese evenly over remaining 20 slices of bread. Place one tomato slice on goat cheese circle, and top with pesto-spread circle. Can be made up to 8 hours ahead of time, keep wrapped well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for great ideas!

dan said...

Sweet Onion Tea Sandwich is one of the most delicious ones, so I would like to buy similar sandwich to my breakfasts.I think that in a place next to the generic viagra's bus stop sells similar sandwich.