The Third Course: Tea Sandwiches

When I don’t serve a salad along with the soup course, I like to add it to the tea sandwiches course. In this case, I’ll mound carrot salad in the middle of the serving plates and surround it with the tea sandwiches. It gives the presentation an extra colorful crunch.

Carrot Salad

½ cup raisins
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 pounds carrots, peeled and grated
¾ cup light olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Soak the raisins in the vinegar for a half hour. Drain, reserving the vinegar. Mix the raisins with the grated carrots.

Add the vinegar to the oil, season with salt and pepper, add nutmeg and mix with the carrots and raisins.

Egg salad in a Tomato Cup

8 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Paprika for sprinkling
6 small tomatoes

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the chopped eggs. Chill for at least an hour. In the meantime, slice the top off the tomatoes, about a quarter of the way from the top. Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp and seeds being careful not to poke through. Drain the tomatoes on paper towels while egg salad is chilling. Fill the tomatoes and sprinkle with paprika; do not top with the tomato cap.

Cucumber Sandwiches on Buttered White

1 cucumber
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tablespoons parsley chopped, stemmed leaves reserved for topping
Thin white sandwich bread

Slice the cucumber into ¼ inch to ½ inch rounds. Lightly salt the slices and allow to sit on a rack so that extra moisture is released, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the butter with the chopped parsley until well combined. Using a biscuit cutter or other round cutter, make circles in the bread that are only slightly larger than the cucumber slices. It is easiest to do this if the bread is slightly frozen. Spread the bread rounds with the parsley butter. Quickly rinse the cucumber slices and pat dry with paper towels. Top each bread round with a cucumber slice and decorate the tops with the reserved parsley leaves.

Chicken Salad with Grapes

For this particular menu, use the cooked chicken reserved from the soup course.
5 cups diced chicken
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup celery
1 cup red seedless grapes cut in half
Whole grain bread, thinly sliced

Place the chicken in a bowl. Add enough mayonnaise to coat the meat, then add the grapes and celery and mix gently but thoroughly.

To make the tea sandwiches: Top a slice of the bread with chicken salad and cover with another slice of bread. Be sure to spread the chicken salad to the edges. Trim the crusts from the sandwiches and cut on the diagonal. When plating these sandwiches, place a few celery leaves underneath the sandwiches, poking out, for garnish.