Tea Sandwiches

These tea sandwiches can be made with ham (prosciutto) or simply with vegetables to be vegetarian. They’re incredibly versatile as well as quick and easy to assemble. Simply smear white bread with butter and arrange with your favorite toppings.

What do you think when you hear “tea sandwiches”? Now tell us, would your answer have been any different if we’d asked what you you think of “open-face sandwiches”? Or even “tartine”? Because they’re essentially sorta the same. Because sometimes tea sandwiches are open-face sandwiches, as here, standing in as impressive noshes at showers and cocktail parties and the like. There’s fewer carbs, less work, and no puzzled guests squinting to figure out what’s on the inside. We tend to most frequently toss together these little lovelies as a simple supper, though, far from the prying eyes of guests, salvaging whatever happens to be in the fridge and making it seem all dainty and impressive and stuff. Then we pour ourselves a glass of wine and call it a day. Kindly note: Ingredients below listed as inspiration and are not to be deemed as limiting in any way.Renee Schettler Rossi

Tea Sandwiches

Tea sandwiches being assembled with four slices of bread topped with sliced egg, arugula, radish, and prosciutto
These tea sandwiches can be made with ham (prosciutto) or simply with vegetables to be vegetarian. They’re incredibly versatile as well as quick and easy to assemble. Simply smear white bread with butter and arrange with your favorite toppings.
Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer

Prep 10 mins
Total 10 mins
4 servings
5 from 1 vote
Print RecipeBuy the Canal House Cooks Every Day cookbook

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  • 4 tablespoons salted butter softened
  • 8 slices white sandwich bread thinly sliced
  • 2 slices prosciutto thinly sliced
  • 2 to 4 largish radishes thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 handfuls (about 2 cups) baby arugula
  • 1 lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


  • Butter the slices of bread, being careful to spread the butter all the way to the edge. Trim the crusts, if desired.
  • Drape 1 slice prosciutto over each of the first 2 slices of bread.
  • Arrange the largest and most symmetrical radish slices over the next 2 slices bread.
  • Top the next 2 slices with hard-boiled eggs.
  • Toss the baby arugula in a bowl with a tiny dribble of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil. Top the last 2 slices of bread with the arugula.
  • Sprinkle all of the sandwiches with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Print RecipeBuy the Canal House Cooks Every Day cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This open-face sandwiches recipe is delicious and light enough for a hot summer day. I ate them on a picnic and they were easy to make, transport, and eat outside without utensils.

It took a total of 10 minutes to assemble all of the ingredients and make the sandwiches. If you include softening the butter in the total time, the recipe took about 1 hour, 10 minutes with cold butter coming from the fridge. It was easiest to butter the bread when the bread was cold, but the butter was soft so that the bread didn’t crumble. I used Pepperidge Farm extra-thin white bread and La Quercia piccante-style prosciutto for its fennel-y, peppery flavor.

I used a mandolin to slice the radishes so that the slices would be even, and I found that I needed all 4 radishes because the ends tend to get wasted when slicing with a mandolin. I only used the largest slices of radish from the center of the vegetable because the uniform slices looked prettiest.

I topped the next 2 slices with the hard-boiled eggs.

I chose to toss the arugula with the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil plus about 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper before assembling the sandwiches so that the arugula could wilt a tiny bit in the dressing.

The components of these open-face sandwiches were all delicious and genius. However, I highly recommend putting all of the toppings together on the same slice of bread to make a beautiful and perfectly balanced tartine. The creaminess of the butter and egg, with the saltiness of the prosciutto, crispness of the radish and cucumber, and bright acidity from the lemony arugula are PERFECTION.

I made this the night before I moved apartments. As stressful as the day was, this was easy to whip up with few kitchen utensils and was a deliciously light, yet satisfying dinner. My boyfriend wants it again!

These are lovely sandwiches and so easy to do, perfect for a light lunch or a casual gathering. I’m used to making open-face sandwiches in the German tradition, using a very dark rye bread specifically made for this type of sandwich, so trying these with a white bread was interesting.

The arugula sandwiches were peppery and refreshing. We liked these very much.

The egg sandwiches would have been better with a little mayonnaise instead of the butter, but were nice just the same.

The radish sandwiches went over just as well as the arugula ones.

The prosciutto ones were my husband’s favorite but were deemed just okay by the rest of us.

We’ve made this type of sandwich countless times before. Some of our favorite versions included pâté with sliced cornichons; lightly dressed watercress with sliced radishes; herbed cream cheese or crème fraîche with thinly sliced cucumbers; spiced gouda with spicy mustard; and sliced onions and tomatoes with mayo. The list of possibilities for this type of sandwich is endless and tasty.

The first time I was introduced to these open-face sandwiches was at a hotel in Stockholm, where shrimp and eggs were put on a piece of bread with dressing. I loved the simplicity of it, and ever since then, I always have hard-boiled eggs in my refrigerator. It’s one of the easiest dishes to make: bread with mayo and whatevers in your refrigerator or pantry on top. I was happy to see this recipe now as summer is the perfect season for this sandwich.

I wanted the freshest butter I could find for these open-face sandwiches and decided to just whip up a little batch of my own. Using the whip attachment of my trusty old KitchenAid, I used a local, organic heavy cream until it produced a pale, creamy butter to which I added a smattering of flaked sea salt. It was smooth and soft and easy to spread on the bread. I found it easiest to butter the bread and remove the crust, as when I tried buttering the crustless bread, it tore a bit. I used Sara Lee thin-sliced white sandwich bread. I chose large, firm, bright red radishes, which I sliced on the thinnest blade of my mandolin, and soaked them in ice water. Nearly transparent, they looked beautiful ringed in red and loosely layered atop the buttered bread.

There’s nothing special about the pre-packaged prosciutto that I can purchase locally, so I chose the brand with the most visual appeal.

For the handful of arugula, you need only a smattering of dressing. A few generous drops of lemon juice and olive oil yielded plenty of dressing for the petite sandwiches (make sure the bread is buttered to the edge or the dressing will make the bread soggy).

Originally published April 26, 2019


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