Crab Salad Tea Sandwiches…

My life has changed a lot since I retired. And it’s changed so much more this past year with the Covid 19 pandemic. One thing that’s kept me sane is a small group of neighbors who get together with me every Monday to play cards. We started this weekly get together before the pandemic and we all are committed to following the same safety protocols so luckily we’ve been able to maintain our games (often masked for extra precaution). It’s managed to keep all of us sane.

Every week we meet at a different condo and once a month everyone has the opportunity to host. Hosting involves serving lunch. I love my turn to host because it’s an opportunity to try out new recipes on my guests. They’ve informed me they don’t mind at all being my guinea pigs and it gives me an opportunity to create an even greater arsenal for my blog.

I usually like to make something that I can prepare the day before and just heat up the following day. Normally that consists of soups, stews, casseroles and the like. A while back when I knew it was going to be cold outside I decided to make a creamy chicken and mushroom soup (recipe is forthcoming) and to add to it these crab salad tea sandwiches. I could make the crab salad the day before and the day of simply assemble and serve them.

So let’s talk crab salad tea sandwiches…

Lesson Learned 1 – Make the crab mixture the day before: With almost any type of salad like this, shrimp salad, chicken salad, crab salad, etc., it’s always best to make it ahead of time and allow all the ingredients to get sufficiently acquainted. The end result tastes notably different and better when the flavors get some time to gel. Plus an added benefit is you don’t have to scramble the day of your party because most of the work is already done. Take the time to make stuff ahead. It is well worth it.

Lesson Learned 2 – Use good crab meat and not the fake stuff: I know crab meat is expensive. The can I bought was on sale and I paid about $18.00 for it. But the flavor profile is so much better using good ingredients. A viable alternative is crab claw meat which is less expensive but I prefer the actual crab meat

Lesson Learned 3 – Rinse the crab meat with water: I found this is a great way to remove any gel or liquid that was on the crab in the can. Also go through the crab with your fingers and check for any shells. Sometimes small bits of shells can be on the crab and you want to remove them before mixing them with other ingredients.

Lesson Learned 4 – The trick to cutting nice small round sandwiches: I used a 3 inch biscuit cutter to make the sandwiches. I found I could make one sandwich, top and bottom, out of one slice of bread. I also discovered a little secret. Initially when I was cutting out the circles I swirled the biscuit cutter like you would when you cut dough. That created somewhat scraggly edges on the bread. Since the bread is so soft anyway, all you need to do is press down with the cutter. The round will form, you can easily pop it out of the biscuit cutter and you wind up with nice smooth edges. Live and learn…

These are very easy and fun to assemble and they are impressive looking and delicious. So try these out and tell me what you think…

Crab Salad Tea Sandwiches...

  • Servings: 14
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

8.5 ounce can of crab meat, drained and checked for shells

1/4 cup English cucumber, diced

1/4 cup orange bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup celery, finely chopped

1/4 cup mayo

1 Tbs. sour cream

1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 generous Tbs. of fresh dill, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. white pepper

A couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce

1 loaf of soft white bread

softened butter

fresh dill for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the crab, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and celery together. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the mayo, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper, paprika and Worcestershire sauce.

Pour the dressing over the crab mixture and carefully fold to combine. Cover and let chill for at least one hour, overnight is preferable.

Slice the bread using a biscuit cutter to create three inch rounds.

Butter one side of each piece of bread (this will help the sandwiches from becoming soggy). Place a helping of crab salad on top of one buttered slice. Put the other slice on top buttered side down.

Press down on the bread to push the crab salad to the edges of the bread. Garnish with a dill sprig. You can serve immediately or store covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for no more than one hour.

 

Smoked Salmon And Herb Cheese Cucumber Bites…

Ok, I know I’ve said a lot of my recipes were over the top, but this one is really over the top! Not only does this appetizer have flavor that’s off the charts, but it looks equally impressive and it couldn’t be easier to make. And that’s what I like – something that’s pleasing to the eye and loaded with flavor.

If you’re anything like me you like to play with food. I loved all aspects of putting these bites together from making the cheese mixture, to rolling the salmon, to adding the little frawns of dill to smelling the aroma of cucumbers. Putting these appetizer bites together was a pleasure from start to finish!

So let’s talk smoked salmon cucumber bites…

Lesson Learned 1 – Peel stripes on the cucumber for some extra flair: If you take a peeler and peel 3-4 stripes lengthwise on an English cucumber you get a nice contrast in color along the peel. Make sure you use an English cucumber (or you can use baby cucumbers but they are more time consuming to handle) as the skin is edible in comparison to plain old regular cucumbers that have a thicker and less palatable skin. Adding the strips adds to the visual wow factor of the appetizer.

Lesson Learned 2 – Peel the smoked salmon into bite-sized chunks: The smoked salmon is sliced razor thin so all you need do is tear off a small piece, roll it and you’re ready to put it on top of the cheese. You only need a little bit for each appetizer.

Lesson Learned 3 – Pierce the salmon with the decorative pick first: You may need to push a little to get the salmon on the pick. You don’t want to do that at the same time you are putting the salmon on top of the cheese – the cheese will squirt out everywhere. Pierce the salmon first and then put the pick through the cheese and cucumber. That way it will all layer correctly.

Keep in mind you only need a small amount of the cheese mixture as well – I’d say about a well rounded teaspoon. I used the smaller side of a melon baller to scoop the cheese onto the cucumber. It worked perfectly.

This is an appetizer you’ll want to make and serve shortly afterwards. It tastes the best and freshest that way.  I know you’ll find these little bites not only delicious but also fun to make and of course, eat! Try them and let me know what you think.

Smoke Salmon And Herb Cheese Cucumber Bites...

  • Servings: 20-25
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

1 5.2 oz. Boursin garlic and fine herb gournay cheese (or any similar spreadable cheese)

1 English cucumber sliced in 1/2 inch rounds

8 oz. smoked salmon

3 Tbs. fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbs. creamy horseradish

1 tsp. onion powder

Small fresh dill frawns for garnish

Decorative picks

DIRECTIONS:

Mix together the cheese, onion powder, chopped dill and horseradish until well combined. Set aside.

Peel 3-4 stripes lengthwise down the sides of the cucumber. Slice the cucumber into 1/2 rounds. Place the cucumbers on a serving dish.

Put a teaspoon of the cheese mixture on top of each cucumber. Peel off bite sized pieces of the smoked salmon. Roll each piece and pierce it with the decorative pick. Place the pick through the cheese and cucumber.

Garnish with a small frawn of dill on top of each appetizer bite. Serve immediately.

The Ingredients