How to make a proper cucumber sandwich
Lucy Huntington’s proper cucumber sandwiches
If you think cucumber sandwiches are teeny tiny, crustless, insipid non-events suited only for the set of a Merchant Ivory film or a vicarage tea, then it's time to think again. This recipe is the real deal, it’s the mother of all cucumber sandwiches, and rather fittingly comes from my mother, Lucy Huntington.
Her recipe makes for a robust and scrumptious sandwich that combines the refreshing taste of cucumber with the sweetness of sugar, the sourness of vinegar, the heat of pepper and the saltiness of, well, the salt.
You will want a big loaf of crusty bread. It needs to be white, but don’t cut the crusts off. Unless you need your food liquidised, removing crusts is a pointless endeavour that robs the sandwich of taste and bite. Butter both slices of bread properly, with proper butter.
Next add a decent layer of finely sliced cucumber, with the skin on. And when I say fine, there's no need to go over the top and make the slices tissue paper thin, but equally don’t hack at the cucumber like you are chopping wood. You want lots of tasty flexible slices about 3mm thick that you can build up into a lovely layer of green and white.
Then comes the magic. Add a sprinkling of sugar, a twist of salt, a little black pepper and vinegar. Yes vinegar. In later life my parents have gone all posh and now apparently use balsalmic vinegar, but I regard this to be an abomination. The only vinegar up to the task is Sarson's Malt Vinegar, the sort you usually put on your chips. As with the other ingredients, don’t fart about with the vinegar but don’t drench the poor unsuspecting sandwich either.
Then pop the other slice of bread on top and cut your sandwiches into squares, never triangles. Pile up a host of these little squares on a serving plate and march out into the garden satisfied that you have now mastered a skill even Claridges has trouble getting right.
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