The Simple Pleasure of Open-Faced Sandwiches
No matter what the meal or occasion, putting open-faced sandwiches on the menu ensures a guaranteed hit! They are simple to make yet still full of great flavor combinations.
Presentation is key when serving open-faced sandwiches because all ingredients are highly visible. It’s important to ensure that the ingredients used be fresh, flavorful, and complementary.
THE HISTORY OF OPEN-FACED SANDWICHES
Open-faced sandwiches, also known as bread basers, bread platters, half-widges or tartines, have a simple formula: a slice of bread with one or more toppings. These types of sandwiches 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 their livestock, 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 couldn’t 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.
This recipe for Cucumber Goat Cheese Toast is simple yet full of flavor, making it the perfect appetizer, snack, or lunch. It’s quick and easy to prepare using Pure Flavor® Mini Cucumbers. As a quick, crispy, crunchy snack, Mini Cucumbers are full of important vitamins and nutrients. They also 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 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.
GET CREATIVE WITH 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, tostadas, and canapés, while typically served as an appetizer, are actually also types of open-faced sandwiches!
Take the award-winning Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes, dice and dress with garlic, olive oil and fresh basil to make the ultimate antipasti treat. Or pair your favorite bread with juicy and meaty Red Beefsteak Tomatoes 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 or everything bagel spice?
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 like avocado, 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. - Pure Flavor® and Abigail Harris-Shea from @bon__abbetit