Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Benedictine Party Sandwiches

These little Benedictine sandwiches were the star at our last party.  Every last triangle was eaten.

Who knew white bread with green filling could be so good?  This lady knew:

Meet Thelma Linton.  She was a caterer in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, for about 150 years.  She's a legend.

And she inspired some of our party food, including the Benedictine sandwiches.  For anyone who isn't familiar with Benedictine, it's a filling made with mayo, cream cheese, cucumber, onion and, yes, green food coloring.  And it's named after Mrs. Benedict, who invented the sandwich.

So there you go.  A trip down memory lane for some and a small dose of Southern food history for others.

Start with the cream cheese, and make sure it's room temperature.

Beat it up with some mayonnaise and salt.

Now for the green food coloring.  You just need a few drops.  And yes, food coloring is an essential ingredient for Benedictine.  It's artificial in an old-fashioned, nostalgic kind of way.  So don't leave it out.

Now chop the cucumber and onions.  I don't normally peel cucumbers, but you must peel them for this.  Thelma will know if you don't.

Now chop them super tiny.

Meet Sam.  He's my opportunistic weiner-dog assistant.

And chop the onions into the same little tiny pieces.

No one wants to bite into a huge chunk of onion.  Well, I do, but I'm probably the only one.  So I tried to make this a pleasant experience for everyone.

Stir it all together!

This was so fantastically delicious, I'm going to have to make it again soon.  Party or not.

Take squishy white bread.  Note: sandwich bread (the bread that is actually square) works best for cutting the crusts off.  But I could only find old-fashioned white bread (with the rounded top) and it worked fine.

Be sure to only spread a thin layer of Benedictine spread on the bread.  These are supposed to be light sandwiches.  Like this:

This was my first sandwich, and I slathered on too much filling:

So just remember that more is not always better.  Just most of the time.

You can either cut the crusts off before filling them:

Or after filling them:

Either way works.  Just remember that these are addictive.  And that you will probably need more than you think you will.  And that you'll need two loaves of bread for this one recipe of Benedictine spread.  And that you'll probably eat two whole sandwiches while you're assembling them for the party.

Here's how we stored them: in a large tupperware with pieces of wax paper to separate the layers.

Now go forth and have a party!  And definitely make Benedictine sandwiches.  Thelma says they go well with pimento cheese, but we did ham biscuits instead.  Equally yummy.

Benedictine Party Sandwiches

2 8-oz. bricks of cream cheese, softened
1 English cucumber, peeled and minced
1 small onion, minced
2 T mayonnaise
1/4 tsp salt
3 drops green food coloring
2 loaves white bread

Beat the cheese, mayonnaise and salt with a hand mixer.  Fold in the rest of the ingredients with a spatula.  Make sandwiches with white bread.  Cut the crusts off with a serrated knife and cut into triangles.  Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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