Getting by the afternoons with light snacks is always a spectacle when you have kids at home. I try to put a halt to the overly-sweet munchies that's a major favorite but reasoning out to my 5-year old daughter is a lost case. She wins, I lose. She's wrong, I'm right. She cries, sigh - I give up. But that's not always the case because I sometimes win too and when I do, I get to give her one of the non-sweet snacks that she would willingly eat. A slice of bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. It's the most basic healthy Italian snack that never fails to make kids sit down and eat.
Snacks are quite free at home. We eat together, alone, sweet, savory, picnic on the grass, kitchen, while dangling from a tree (yes, it does happen), on the bed (only when sick), wine, sodas, teas. You can expect everything and anything at home but sometimes, I make sure that my family and I have a little cocktail or afternoon tea party together. When we do, I like to make it extra special just like how I would prepare the table when there are guests because preparing beautiful little food gives me pleasure in the work and attention that I put for the special people in my life - my family.
Here are 5 tea sandwiches (with recipe link to She Knows) that I think are the best in my list:
Italians patronize their own cheese and it's totally understandable because there are hundreds of different kinds to choose from that are mostly (if not, all) superior in taste and quality. And one of the best things that I love seeing and photographing is a long table of different kinds of cheese when I go around. But, in spite of this great spread, there are some foreign cheese that are quite popular with the local palate, like feta. Personally, it is one of my preferred cheese in crumbling and sprinkling on salads for its lightly salty and mild flavor. Combine it with roasted peppers and fresh chives? Delectable! Roast your own peppers to get that smoky flavor or get that bottle of pre-roasted ones that have the genuine smoky flavor. Fresh chives give a light oniony touch. If you can't find them, use spring onions.
I am not the biggest mayo lover but in some of my favorite food, they just have to be there. For instance, egg salad will not be that great without the mayo putting the eggs together. It's a part of the overall taste. With a dash of paprika, the taste is transformed to something even better. Add some blanched fava beans and fresh arugula then you are in for a different kind of egg salad sandwich. P.S. It's also one of my favorites!
The first time I tried the Scacciuni con Capuliatu & Cacciocavallo (Sicilian Bagel with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Cacciocavallo Cheese), I was not just hooked but quite addicted. It was one of the best combinations I have ever tried and I am not even saying that because I am speaking about Sicilian food (if you know me, I am quite in love with Sicilian cuisine). I used capuliatu which is a kind of Sicilian ground sun-dried tomatoes and the Ragusano DOP, a kind of Cacciocavallo cheese that is protected and produced only in Ragusa, Sicily. Put them altogether with fresh basil in the local bagel called scacciuni and you will lose your mind. Ok, maybe not you, but I did. Based on that unforgettable sandwich which I still manage to have sometimes when we go to Sicily or when my husband's relatives take us some capuliatu from there. So getting the tastiest sun-dried tomatoes in the market that I combined with extra virgin olive oil, I just whirred it in the mini chopper to get similar consistency as the capuliatu. Mix it with any mild cheese and fresh basil, then you can more or less understand why I love this combination.
Ham and cheese mini sandwiches, the Italian way. Touched with a few arugula leaves makes these tea sandwiches familiar in taste. Prosciutto crudo or raw ham has a particular, well, prosciutto crudo taste. There are so many kinds of prosciutto crudo in Italy with slight differences in tastes. I have my own commercial favorites that I can easily find in the regular supermarkets but if I go to the specialty regional deli shops, well, a new world of prosciutto is also waiting there. In this tea sandwich, they play a big role in putting together a delicious one. Partnered with Parmigiano Reggiano and a bit of cream cheese, your sandwich cannot go wrong. It's a simple ham and cheese gone Italian.
This is a classic combination that I always put together when I have a pack of smoked salmon in the fridge. For me, cream cheese, smoked salmon and wild fennel have to stay together. Ok, maybe dill is more classic but since I have wild fennel growing everywhere around my house, I use it a lot. I always try to beat the gardeners from running their blades on them but I still manage to get a few leaves even after they flatten everything up. The flavor and aroma are remarkable! In this recipe, I mixed the fennel with the cream cheese (I always use Philadelphia because I like it) and the zest of the lemon to make it tastier. Using pumpernickel bread gives the whole tea sandwich a fuller taste because the bread alone is already a heavy kind of rye bread.
You can find the recipes of these 5 Tea Sandwiches in She Knows where I regularly create recipes. If you want to check out my other recipes there, go to my Profile Page. Enjoy your Friday!