Entertaining with The Charleston Silver Lady

Spring Sandwiches

Dawn Corley
Posted 4/30/20

Spring is here and with it the wonderful vegetables ambient temperatures produce.

The recipes in this column are from Charleston and were part of every party I attended.  They were always …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Subscribe to continue reading. Already a subscriber? Sign in

Get 50% of all subscriptions for a limited time. Subscribe today.

You can cancel anytime.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Entertaining with The Charleston Silver Lady

Spring Sandwiches


Spring is here and with it the wonderful vegetables ambient temperatures produce.
The recipes in this column are from Charleston and were part of every party I attended.  They were always neatly presented on a silver tray with a white paper doily underneath.  Whether it was a social function or a party at home, everyone looked forward to spring and these sandwiches.
As I go through some of the varieties, those of you who are creative can easily see these elegant savory bites were made just from what the garden produced that day. You can easily adapt the ingredients to the vegetables you happen to have.
We would spend time before any party polishing silver, washing crystal and ironing linen napkins, bar cloths and table linen.  
In my memory, I can smell the starch as it hissed against a hot iron, perfectly flattening a heavily wrinkled linen napkin. I can smell the silver polish and sense the hot water in the kitchen sink as the crystal glasses were washed and dried.  Everything would be in order before we started on the food. 
The ironed table linens were placed on the tables, the napkins and bar cloths arranged for ease of use. The glasses would be set up like tin soldiers in neat rows. Stacks of sterling spoons and forks were set amongst the trays for easy access. We would long for our friends to arrive to share in the bounty of spring time with us.
Now, to the sandwiches. 
BASIC INGREDIENTS for sandwiches made with 2 loaves of white bread, fresh, NOT day old.
Salted, room temperature butter
Mayonnaise –we used Dukes.
Salt and pepper
Whatever vegetable you happen to have.
Slices of bread cut into cocktail size 4 small sandwiches.  Most people eat 8 squares so buy loaves of bread based on the number of people you expect to attend.
Remove the crust from the bread BEFORE you fill them resulting in a much neater appearance.  Use a serrated bread knife as a regular knife mashes down the edges of the bread. Discard the crust.
Prepare the bread just before you are going to use it  – at the last minute. Spread each slice with a thin layer of room temperature salted butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. These sandwiches need to be consumed within a hour or they get soggy.
I keep the vegetable mixture in a container in my refrigerator for up to 2 days so you can make it ahead and quickly assemble the sandwiches when you have guests.
The basic recipe for Charleston Vegetable Sandwiches varies from family to family but this is what we used:
Peel and shred 8 pickling cucumbers. in a colander, press down to relieve cucumbers of as much moisture as possible. Adding salt brings the water out faster. Set aside.
Peel and shred 4 large carrots.
Peel and shred one medium onion. Salt and set aside.
After about an hour, wring more moisture from the cucumbers and onion. 
Place all the vegetables together in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper and a cup of mayonnaise. Mix well.
Add a teaspoon of the mixture to one half of the prepared bread. Cover with another slice of the prepared bread.
THIS IS ESSENTIAL: Place your sandwich squares in a plastic container lined with barely damp (really wring them out) paper towels. Loosely wrap the sandwiches in this damp toweling and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. Serve within an hour.
Charleston variations used with the prepared bread are:
• thinly sliced ( paper thin) cucumber slices with a  thin piece of red onion.
• thinly sliced onion, small capers and one chilled shrimp (cleaned, cooked and sliced lengthwise)
1/2 cherry tomato with sprig of parsley.
There are many more that I will share with you this summer as summer vegetables begin to come in.
I hope you will try these elegant sandwiches made with inexpensive ingredients that are made special be the way they are prepared.  You will be surprised how wonderful something simple tastes when offered with love and friendship. 


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here