Benedictine Tea Sandwich
This seems like a kind of a ‘no-brainer’ sandwich: cucumber, cream cheese, bread. But the very fact that it has a rather regal name and a history indicates that this humble Sammy is a part of a larger culture.
The first time I ever had one of these little sandwiches was at an afternoon tea at Langdon Hall, a manor house, restaurant, and spa in Cambridge, Ontario. I was young at the time and didn’t understand that you were meant to eat these dainties with grace and patience, not scarf them all down in under a minute.
I had completely forgotten about these delicious nibbles but was reminded of them when doing research for an article about pimento cheese I was writing for Khachilife magazine. Like the infamous pimento cheese, the Benedictine sandwich, or spread, as it is often called originated in the American south, specifically Kentucky. It was developed by Jennie Benedict, a local caterer and cookbook author around the turn of the twentieth century. Since, it has been a staple in Kentucky kitchens and gatherings, being found ready made in local grocery stores. Sometimes the sandwich or spread includes a dash of green food colouring, but personally, I find that a bit off-putting so, I have omitted it and paired it with tangy pumpernickel.
This is an easy to make and tasty nibble, perfect for any teatime hankering.
½ cup cucumber, seeded and finely diced, and drained
1 green onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon of fresh dill, finely chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon of mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2 dashes of hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula
Bread of your choice
In a bowl combine cucumber, onion, dill, cream cheese, mayonnaise, pepper and hot and mix until well incorporated
To assemble the sandwiches, spread a thick dollop of the cucumber spread onto a slice of bread of your choice. Crown with another slice and trim off crusts and cut into thin batons or small squares