What a Cucumber Sandwich teaches about good cooking

When a dish, in this case a sandwich, has only four ingredients, five if you count freshly ground black pepper, the importance of the quality of those few ingredients is paramount to culinary success. It’s a lesson in good cooking, even though nothing is “cooked” in this case.

Cucumber Open-faced Sandwich

  • Bread, untoasted. Today I bought a small loaf of fresh baked whole wheat sourdough from a local farmer’s market. I sliced two pieces . . .
  • Mayonnaise (or butter for the Mayo averse) Best Foods only sells one size of their mayo packaged in glass – 8oz. This one Best Foods product in a glass container tastes so much better than all the rest of their same mayonnaise offerings, all of which are packaged in plastic. If you don’t like mayonnaise (and I know many folks who do not) then use best quality unsalted butter and salt it yourself with quality sea salt such as Maldon.
  • 1/2 organic Cucumber, organic, washed and thinly sliced.
  • Handful Sweet Basil blossoms and leaves (or fresh herb and blossoms of choice, such as Dill or Thyme)
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground

Slather the bread slices with mayonnaise (or butter).

Lay any large basil leaves on the mayonnaise, then add the cucumber slices and finish with small basil leaves and blossoms and pepper to taste.

So what’s the cooking lesson from this sandwich?

Darina Allen of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland contends that “80% of good cooking is in the shopping”. And this sandwich is the case in point; excellent bread, tastiest mayonnaise, organic produce and homegrown herbs. Completely delicious and the essence of good cooking!

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