Are you intrigued by the beauty of tea sandwiches, but unsure how to make them? These crab salad sandwiches are so easy to assemble.
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Traditional tea sandwiches are small and dainty - with no more than two to three bites. They have many different kinds of fillings, such as meat, cheese, vegetables, and fruit. Cucumber, egg, chicken, crab, smoked salmon, ham, cheese and pickle, roast beef, tuna, pimento cheese, and fig jam are popular tea sandwich fillings in the UK and US.
Traditionally, tea sandwiches are made on soft bread with a variety of fillings. The fillings usually have vegetables, cheese, fruits or meats that are diced, so they look dainty.
- Crab Meat - canned crab meat works great, but if you have fresh crab meat you can use that just as well.
- Bread Options - Sandwich cut bread works best for cutting designs. Pick a bread you enjoy.
How to Make
- Place the crab, cucumbers, red onion, celery, orange bell pepper, and the fresh dill in a large bowl.
- Whisk the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.
3. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients.
4. Gently mix the ingredients to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cover the salad and chill for at least one hour.
5. Butter the bottom and top slices of bread. Place one tablespoon of salad on to the center of each slice.
6. Put the top slice on, then use a biscuit cutter to cut out circular shapes. Keep the remaining bread for croutons or toad in the holes.
7. Garnish these with a small sprig of fresh dill.
8. Enjoy with a cup of tea!
The crusts are cut off and they are cut into pretty shapes, such as triangles, rectangles, squares, and circles. Tea sandwiches look pretty and make the guest feel special.
Most fillings shine with soft white bread or soft whole wheat bread, but fillings that have a strong flavor do better with pumpernickel or rye bread. Sweet fillings would taste wonderful on raisin bread. If you can find bread that is sliced very thin, your end result will look more dainty.
It's best to assemble the sandwiches first, then cut the crusts off; this way the filling goes right to the edges. With a standard loaf of bread, you can cut four triangles or three bars from two slices of bread. You can cut the the bread into larger squares or very dainty cubes. If you're making circular shapes, use a biscuit cutter or a small drinking glass. Flower shaped cookie cutters also make a pretty design. Use any leftover bread for breadcrumbs, croutons, or toad in the holes.
You can make the salad filling a day in advance, but assemble them a couple of hours before the party begins. When your sandwiches are assembled, dampen a paper towel and wring out the excess water. Place it on top, and cover with plastic wrap or put in an airtight container and refrigerate. The damp paper towel has two purposes: it hydrates the bread, and it acts as a protective barrier from the air. You can also use a sheet of wax paper and place a damp kitchen towel over top. Just before serving, place the sandwiches on a platter or a tray to prevent the bread from drying out.
Most popular tea sandwich fillings can be made the day before your big event. Fillings like crab, egg, chicken all taste wonderful the next day. You could also prep some of the toppings or garnishes the day before. It's better to assemble them a couple of hours before the guests start to arrive, so the bread doesn't get soggy or the sandwiches dry out.
They are traditionally served on a round plate on the bottom tier of a three tier tray. The second tier holds scones, and the top tier displays dainty desserts. You can also serve these on a fancy platter.
How long do these last unrefrigerated?
If the event is indoors, all tea sandwiches with mayonnaise should not be left out for more than two hours. If they don't have mayo, and they are being served at room temperature, no more than four hours is safe.
What do you serve with this recipe?
A traditional British afternoon tea would have three courses. The first course is a variety of savory and sweet dainty tea sandwiches. The second course is scones with clotted cream and jam. The last course is dainty desserts like pastries, meringues, and macarons. Provide a variety of different kinds of hot tea, such as black, green, and herbal.
- Want a fancier top? Use a tiny cookie cutter to cut a shape out of the center.
- Don't like them circular? Try triangles, fingers, square, cubes, flower shapes.
- Don't want bread? Try puff pastry or phyllo cups for canapes.
- Don't like them in one layer? Try open faced, double decker, rolled, or cubes wrapped with prosciutto.
- Don't want a tea sandwich? Use a hoagie roll, kaiser bun, potato rolls, or Hawaiian rolls.
- Need garnish ideas? Try radish, watercress, chive curl, edible flowers, cucumbers
- Don't know what to do with the leftover bread? Make toad in the holes; the crab tastes wonderful with egg.
- Don't want soggy sandwiches? Butter the insides of the top and bottom slices.
Other Sandwiches You’ll Like
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Crab Salad Sandwiches Recipe
For the Crab Salad
- 8.5 ounces canned wild caught crab meat, drained
- ¼ cup English cucumber, chopped
- ¼ cup orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
For the Dressing
For the Sandwiches
- 2 loaves of very thin white bread, 48 slices
- butter, softened
- fresh dill for garnish
Making the Crab Salad
- Mix the crab salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Whisk the salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Carefully fold the salad dressing into the crab mixture, then cover and chill for one hour.
Making the Tea Sandwiches
- Butter thinly sliced white bread.
- Place 1 tablespoon of crab salad in the center of 24 slices of bread, then place the remaining 24 slices on top.
- Use a 2-inch diameter biscuit cutter to make the bread a circle shape. Garnish with a dill sprig and serve immediately.
- Try radish, watercress, chive curl, edible flowers, cucumbers if you want more garnish ideas.
- Make toad in the holes with the leftover bread.
- Prevent soggy sandwiches by buttering the insides of the top and bottom slices.
This recipe was originally published on March 1, 2019.