I made these smoked salmon tea sandwiches for a brunch party I had last weekend with my coworkers. We’re moving to Annapolis, and I wanted to say thank you to some awesome ladies — not only were they my therapists while I was in rehab, but they’ve all become great friends and coworkers. So thank you a million times to Courtney, Jennifer, Anne, Sue, Lea and Kiley for spending some time with me before leaving. I expect to see y’all up in the Northeast!
The menu I made was simple and included salad, sliced smoked Gouda with rosemary olive oil crackers, Vietnamese puff pastry with meat filling (paté chaud), macarons, cinnamon-sugar palmiers (elephant ears), watermelon, smoked salmon tea sandwiches, tea, mimosas and French berry lemonade. When you put together a menu, pay attention to a few things:
Color. Is your assembled plate colorful? You definitely wouldn’t want scalloped potatoes, banana pudding and roast chicken on one menu, for instance. Try to incorporate a rainbow of colors if you can.
Texture. You want a variety of crunchy, creamy, chewy, etc.
Guests’ food allergies or severe food dislikes. I always ask, if I don’t know, but I have to admit I broke the rules in terms of food dislikes (you have to be overly confident to pull this off). I invited my friend over for dinner and made salmon, knowing that she HATED it. I knew this dish was good (it’s in the Inspired Celebrations book), and when she tried it, I converted her, because she ate the whole thing!
Table display. Vary it up in terms of height. I have different levels that the food is served on, and found tall crackers and put them in a glass vase to keep it pleasing to the eye.
Incorporate different proteins. Not everyone’s a big meat eater, but you do want some protein to keep everyone satiated! I had cheese, paté chaud with pork filling and smoked salmon tea sandwiches in case people were avoiding one or the other.
Keep the display neat and organized. My friend’s motto is: “not matching is matching.” I own a bunch of white serving ware in different quirky shapes and sizes, but also have different-colored teacups and cake plates. It’s nice not to have everything match exactly, because you can easily change up the style according to what your mood is.
Consider your time constraints. I have a lot of stuff going on, so I couldn’t tackle some time-consuming dishes, but wanted to give my friends something special. So instead of making macarons, I bought frozen ones that only took 30 minutes to defrost. A lot of the dishes just required simple assembly, and I made the Vietnamese paté chaud the morning of, which didn't take too long at all.
Smoked Salmon Tea Sandwiches
Makes 16 sandwiches
8 slices white bread (I used an oatmeal bread, which was really good)
4 oz whipped cream cheese
juice of half a lemon
1 Tbsp finely chopped dill
1 Tbsp finely chopped red onion
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
6 oz smoked salmon
- With a rolling pin, gently press down on each slice of bread so that they’re slightly flattened.
- Mix together the cream cheese, lemon juice, dill, red onion, salt and pepper in a bowl until incorporated.
- Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture on each slice.
- Top four slices of bread with slices of smoked salmon over the cream cheese.
- Top the smoked salmon with the other slices of bread, with the cream cheese filling facing the insides.
- With a serrated knife, cut the crusts off the sandwiches and cut each sandwich into four triangles or rectangles.