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- Ready In:
- 125 g unsalted butter, softened
- 25 g watercress leaves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 16 slices thinly cut white bread
- 32 sprigs watercress, plus extra for garnish
- The Watercress Butter: In a food processor, blend the butter, watercress leaves, lemon juice, black pepper and cayenne pepper until the mixture is very smooth. Let the mixture stand for about 30 minutes at room temperature or chill it, but bring it back to room temperature before using.
- Watercress Sandwiches: Spread each slice of bread with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the watercress butter, and cut 4 rounds from each slice with a 4-cm (11/2 inch) round or fluted cutter.
- Arrange a watercress sprig on half the rounds, leaving a little extending over the edge of each and invert the remaining rounds on top to complete the sandwiches.
- Serve the sandwiches on a tray decorated with the extra watercress sprigs.
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This makes a lovely watercress butter, very versatile. It doesn't quite work with my preferred egg and cress tea sandwich -- butter and egg mayonnaise is just too rich -- but alone, it's superb. One tiny quibble -- these are not "high tea" sandwiches, but afternoon tea or cream tea sandwiches. High tea is a really substantial meal, like supper or dinner (depending on your region, that big meal at the end of the day). These are too light for that, but they're a perfect pick-me-up if you've a long wait between lunch and a late evening meal, or they make a lovely lunch.
I've fallen in love with watercress and this simple recipe showcases it's peppery flavor perfectly. The flavored butter is easy to make and would be excellent melted on steamed cauliflower, grilled fish or chicken or even in hot grains. I ate it as the recipe instructed...on rounds of bread with sprigs of watercress (lots). Next time I think I'll add a slice of hard-boiled egg to my little sandwich. Bluemoon downunder...thanks for posting this nostalgic recipe.
Another elegant traditional English sandwich served with Cucumber Sandwiches and Egg and Cress Sandwiches for an English high tea or supper. Or these days, on numerous occasions! The watercress butter that is part of this recipe can be made in advance and frozen. I found this recipe on an English website and have posted it for the 2005 Zaar World Tour.