Finger Sandwich Tutorial

At every shower for a bride or mom-to-be in the South, finger sandwiches in some form are bound to grace the table. The rules generally are that they must be teeny, cut into triangles or an interesting shape, made from crustless white bread, and filled with something containing mayonnaise or cream cheese. Popular fillings include pimiento cheese, cucumber, chicken salad, watercress, and fruity cheese spreads. The bread of choice has traditionally been Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White.

May I help you break tradition in a way so delicious, no one will ever notice?

Folks, let’s face it — that bread isn’t good. It’s small and square and low in calories but it just. isn’t. good. It’s got HFCS and Lord only knows what else in it. Go with something natural. I went with Arnold’s Country White. It’s not square, but it still works. In fact, I’ll show you how!

Following these steps will let you make sandwiches early in the morning for an afternoon/evening party. I’ve read that some sandwiches can be frozen, but I’m afeared. I also read that you had to spread butter on the bread before the filling so the sandwiches wouldn’t get soggy. Bullshit. Shenanigans. And, I made pimiento cheese sandwiches. I’m not putting bread on a cheese-and-mayonnaise sandwich. I’m a fat girl, but I’m not that fat. I’m old school, but I’m not that old school.

To make finger sammiches, you will need:

Bread

Filling

Paper towels

A large dish to hold the sandwiches

Plastic wrap (this may be the only time you ever see me use the stuff)

Water and your fingers/spray bottle

Cutting board

Spreading knife

Cutting knife

Ziptop plastic bag

First, lay out some bread slices. My huge cutting board will fit six. Now, do this carefully. Lay out every OTHER slice and reserve the slices you don’t lay out on the side. Bread isn’t the same height across the loaf — the bread is highest in the middle. This way, your sandwich sides will match up evenly. (Yes, I am telling you this because I have made that mistake before.)

Spread your filling on the laid-out slices. Don’t spread it quite to the edge, but don’t leave a huge border. I put about 2 tablespoons on each sandwich. You don’t want it to be terribly thick, but you don’t want your guests to say, “Mmm. Pimiento-cheese flavored bread. I wonder how she did it, and why she stacked them like this to pretend they are sandwiches.” If you’re going the pimiento cheese route, may I suggest something immensely delicious? Put four cucumber slices on each sandwich. (Conversely, you can slip the slice in each mini-sandwich after they are cut if you are worried about not placing them correctly, or you can put the cuke slice on top and stab it with a decorative toothpick before serving. Pretty, and keeps the bread moist!)

Top your sandwiches. It’s cuttin’ time!

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Je suis un sammich.

Begin by cutting the crusts off to leave a rectangle, like so.

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Just take a little off the top, and the sides, and oh hell, the bottom.

Put the crusts in the ziptop bag. They’ve got a touch of filling and will be your breakfast tomorrow morning, because you’ll be too tired to cook. Trust me. Oh, and go ahead and eat some now with the hot coffee I know you’re swilling if you’re throwing a party this afternoon.

Then, cut the rectangle down the middle to form two smaller rectangles.

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And then there were two.

Then cut each rectangle diagonally.

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Oh my, I am multiplying like rabbits!

Now, you’ve got to keep these babies fresh until your party. Line your storing dish with paper towels and either spritz them lightly with water or flick wet fingers at the towels until they are damp. Put sandwiches in the tray. It works best if you put them in there as they fit together — keeps the filling from getting messy. Put damp paper towels between the layers, and when you are done, cover the top with damp paper towels. Then, wrap the whole container in plastic wrap so that it is airtight. Keep a damp towel over the platter until just before serving — white bread dries out very quickly. (The spray bottle-paper towel trick works great for keeping phyllo dough and frosting from drying out as well.) To keep the sandwiches from losing moisture during the event, line your platter with kale leaves — they look pretty and they will keep the sandwiches moist.

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We're on our way to a party!

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