Many years ago, when I was young and athletic, a friend and I decided to embark on a journey whereby we would make the ultimate sandwich. And by young and athletic, it was really more “young” than athletic. But whatever.
We saved our money and bought almost every deli meat, cheese, pickle, onion, slice of bacon, condiment and other odd assortment of sandwichey things the Gualala supermarket had on hand. We spent an hour or so assembling it, and then polished it off with some Stewarts Point cream soda and root beer. At fifteen, it really was the ultimate sandwich.
A few years later, that friend and I invited a third lad to join us in the creation of Ultimate Sandwich Two. It had many of the ingredients of the first, but was two layer and had meatballs. Epic does not begin to describe it.
My taste buds have changed since the free eating days of youth. My athletic prowess (read not that much athletic prowess) is not what it was. And those sandwiches do not hold the same appeal that they once did. Heartburn is a thing now, after all.
What does appeal is the humble cucumber sandwich. At its heart only three main ingredients, but it is summer in sandwich form if you ask me.
My lovely wife, Anna, first introduced me to the cucumber sandwich when we were dating in college. My family-in-law has roots in England and Scotland, and I think the sandwich is served at high tea services traditionally. It may well be fancier when served there, in that the crusts may be removed, but it is so easy it is worth eating the next time you have the few ingredients that compose it.
While my garden is again having a bit of a “meh” year, I am getting a decent amount of cucumbers for bread-and-butter refrigerator pickles, salads, and of course, this humble sandwich. I planted three varieties: the Armenian (pictured above), lemon, and straight 8. The straight 8 is supposed to be useful for pickling, but I think I planted too late and it has under performed. Oh well. Live and learn in a gardening life, right?
Back to the sandwich. It is ridiculously simple, and has become one of my favorite summer light meals, and is often requested for kid 1’s lunch. You really can’t mess it up.
Not really a “recipe” as it depends how you roll. Like cream cheese? Slather a healthy glob of the stuff on a loaf of your favorite sliced bread. Like upscale cream cheese like chevre or marscapone? Go for it. Don’t like cheese but like mayo–use that instead. Knock yourselves out people–you have my permission.
Layer the cheese/whatever side with sliced and peeled cukes (I really like Armenian cucumbers for the crunch, but use whatever you have from the garden or the store). If you’re feeling fancy, and let’s be honest–who isn’t–add on a few grinds of black pepper and put a second piece of bread on top.
Done. Sandwich mic drop.