With open-faced sandwiches, the presentation is essential because it’s highly visible. More importantly, the ingredients used should be fresh, flavorful, and complementary. Our friend Abigail Harris-Shea from @bon__abbetit sent us this simple, but incredibly flavorful recipe for Cucumber Goat Cheese Toasts that is perfect to serve as a fancy appetizer, but since it comes together quickly and simply, also makes it a great option for a snack or lunch.
THE HISTORY OF OPEN-FACED SANDWICHES
Open-faced sandwiches, also known as bread basers, bread platters, half-widges or tartines, have a pretty simple formula: a slice of bread with one or more toppings. They can be traced back to the Middle Ages when people used coarse, dry bread as a plate or a bowl. At the end of the meal, the diner would eat the food-soaked bread, feed it to the animals (like dogs or pigs), or charitably give it to beggars to eat. Over time though, the bread became incorporated into the meal because the “bread plate” was often the tastiest part!
In the 17th century, the open-faced sandwich was a popular way to eat beef that hung from the rafters in taverns throughout the Netherlands. They would cut the beef into thin slices and lay them on a single piece of buttered bread. The term they used for this was belegd broodje – which loosely translates to putting a spread of some sort on bread.
MODERN DAY OPEN-FACED FARE
This tradition spread across Scandinavian countries where the Danish people really embraced it and have turned it into an artform in the 20th century. They call it smørrebrød – which means “buttered bread”. It wasn’t until the rise of the industrial revolution that smørrebrød really took off. Factory workers weren’t able to return home for lunch, so they would pack these open-faced sandwiches that consisted of a slice of dense rye bread spread with butter and topped with cold meats, smoked fish, or leftovers from supper the night before. This evolved over time into more elaborate and creative variations complete with family recipes handed down over generations, specific preparation methods, and traditions that often dictate the order in which they are eaten.
Abby’s recipe for Cucumber Goat Cheese Toast is the perfect appetizer, snack, or lunch. It can be eaten on its own, or paired with soup, salad or whatever you think would be a complementary flavor. It’s quick and easy to prepare. She used our Mini Cucumbers to create these open-faced sandwiched. As a quick, crispy, crunchy snack, our Mini Cucumbers are full of important vitamins and nutrients. They have a lot of fiber that helps maintain gut health, lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels. They’re a good source of Vitamin K to help with bone health, cognitive functioning, and heart health. But the greatest benefit that our Mini Cucumbers provide is hydration. Cucumbers contain 95% water, which is crucial to your body’s proper functioning.
MAKING CUCUMBER GOAT CHEESE TOAST
Grab your baguette slices, drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then toast them on a sheet pan under the broiler for about three minutes, or until the edges are browned. Spread the goat cheese on the bread, then add the slices of Mini Cucumbers. To finish it off, drizzle each slice with honey, then season with salt and pepper if desired.
For Abby’s full Cucumber Goat Cheese Toast recipe, click here.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR TOPPINGS
Variations of open-faced meals and snacks can be found across numerous cultures and are served throughout the day allowing for creativity with toppings. Bruschetta, crostini, tostada and canapés, while typically served as an appetizer, are actually also types of open-faced sandwiches!
Take our award-winning Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes, sliced or diced, and dressed with garlic, olive oil and fresh basil to make the ultimate antipasti treat. Or pair your favorite bread with our fresh, juicy and meaty Red Beefsteak Tomato for the ultimate in toasted tomato open-faced sandwich. If you’re feeling adventurous why not add a few slices of ripe avocado and sprinkle with salt?
Open-faced sandwiches are not just relegated to appetizers and lunches though. They are also great for breakfast, light dinners and snacking too! Pair some healthy veggies, fresh herbs and soft-boiled eggs for a morning treat that’s portable for families on the go.
No matter how you top it or when you serve it, open-faced sandwiches are not only easy to prepare, but by customizing the toppings, they offer something for everyone to enjoy.
For more inspiration on how you can create your own open-faced sandwiches, see some of the ideas we have put together here.
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