Tips for Rookie Cooks


Radish and Watercress Tea Sandwiches

Fancy, crustless little white bread sandwiches are perfect for tea parties, luncheons, or just a special snack. Lemon juice is one of our favorite companions for cream cheese—you’ll soon discover why.

  • 8 slices soft white bread, crusts removed
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ½ cup (tightly packed) watercress leaves
  • 5–7 medium radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • kosher salt to taste freshly ground black pepper to taste

Spread cream cheese on 4 bread slices. Top with green onions, watercress, and radish slices, dividing evenly. Drizzle lemon juice on each sandwich and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with remaining bread slices and cut each sandwich along both diagonals to create 4 small triangles.

Smoked Herring Smörgås

The Scandinavian open-faced sandwich (smørrebrød, smørbrød, and smörgås to the Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes) is a diverse and adaptable tradition. Simply butter a piece of hearty dark bread and pile it neatly with your favorite meat, fish, vegetables, cheese, eggs, herbs, and whatever else you fancy. Cocktail-sized, sliced pumpernickel loaves are available at many supermarkets and delis—but if you can’t find them, just get a large square loaf and cut four slices into quarters. You can also use crispy rye crackerbreads made by companies like Kavli or Wasa.

  • 16 cocktail-sized (about 2½ inches square) slices of pumpernickel bread
  • 3–4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 16 large cucumber slices
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 7-ounce can smoked herring fillets, cut into 1-inch squares about ¼ inch thick
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1–2 large sprigs of fresh dill

Generously butter each piece of bread. Stack a slice of cucumber, a slice of egg (from the middle of the egg, so it includes some yolk), and a piece of fish on the buttered bread. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste, and top with a sprig or two of dill.

Roasted Vegetable Sandwich with St. André Triple Cream Cheese

Roast a load of vegetables for dinner, and make these sandwiches for lunch the next day. St. André triple cream is a soft-ripened cheese, like Brie, but with a dense, buttery consistency and a decadent, creamy taste. It’s carried in many supermarkets, but if you can’t find it you can substitute Brie.

  • 3 pounds mixed vegetables (such as zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, eggplant, asparagus, or bell peppers), roasted
  • 4–6 ounces St. André triple cream cheese, well chilled
  • 8 slices rustic French bread, lightly toasted

Chop any large pieces, and mix roasted vegetables in a large bowl. (You don’t need to chop asparagus or radicchio—use your judgment.) Layer vegetables and slices of cheese onto each sandwich, dividing evenly.

Change it up

  • Make open-faced crostini using slices of batard or another medium-width bread. Garnish with a couple
  • leaves of baby spinach or arugula.
  • Drizzle a little Balsamic Syrup.
  • Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches

Portobello mushroom caps—with their burger-like shape, strong flavor, and sturdy texture— simply beg to be sandwiched. To clean portobello mushroom caps, gently wipe them with a clean, damp paper towel. To remove the stem, just grab hold of it and bend until it breaks off naturally. For the best bread-to-filling ratio, choose a bun or roll that has a diameter at least as wide as the mushroom cap, but is not too dense.

  • 4 sandwich-sized Portobello mushroom, cleaned and stemmed olive oil or olive oil spray
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¼–½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, such as butter beans, cannellini, or navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup store-bought julienned, roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 handfuls of arugula leaves
  • 8–12 large basil leaves
  • 4 good-quality hamburger buns or sandwich rolls, toasted

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Brush or spray mushroom caps with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet, top sides up.

Sprinkle with pepper and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake for about 20 minutes, until mushrooms are browned and a little shrunken. In a small bowl with a fork, mash beans with olive oil, garlic, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt to make a chunky purée. Spread the bean mixture onto the bottom halves of the buns, dividing equally, and layer the red peppers, arugula, basil, and mushrooms on top, dividing them equally among the 4 sandwiches. Top each sandwich with the top half of the bun, and serve immediately, while the mushrooms are still warm.

Serve it with

  • Heirloom Tomato Salad with Feta, Chives, and Pine Nuts
  • Sweet potato fries
Bombay-Style Vegetable Sandwiches

Our friend and home chef Aneela Brister gave us the idea for this version of a sandwich sold by street vendors in her hometown, Bombay (now Mumbai). You can use any white bread, but for the tastiest results, we recommend buttermilk bread, which is slightly sweet.

  • 2 ounces small new potatoes (red- or white-skinned)
  • 8 slices soft white bread, such as buttermilk, crusts removed
  • ½ cup Spiced Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Place potatoes on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high until cooked through, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes and the power of your microwave. (Cook for intervals of 1 or 2 minutes, checking to see if they’re cooked through by poking with a fork, which should penetrate easily.) When potatoes are cooked, slice them into thin discs. Spread a quarter of the yogurt-cilantro sauce (about 2 tablespoons per sandwich) on each of the 4 bread slices. Layer the sliced potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumber on top, dividing equally and salting each layer lightly. Grind pepper over the top layer. Spread butter on the remaining 4 slices of bread, dividing equally, and place atop the sandwiches, butter side down, pressing firmly. Cut each sandwich along both diagonals to create 4 small triangles.

Change it up

  • Add sliced red onions or sliced roasted beets.
  • Try grilling the sandwiches, panini style.

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