I love watercress sandwiches! They have such a fresh peppery crunch, and they are so pretty with their vibrant green leaves showing. As part of an afternoon tea spread, they are a refreshing and attractive addition to the usual sandwiches on offer.
Watercress has to be fresh to be good. Check the leaves carefully when you are buying them and avoid buying bundles that have yellowing leaves. The leaves should be very green and perky - not wilting at all - nor showing signs of bruising.
If the watercress is in a bunch, put it in water as soon as you get home and keep it in the fridge. Buy it preferably on the same day, or at least only the day before you plan to use it.
There will be plenty left if you only make one sandwich round. You can either have it in salad in the evening, or I think watercress cream soup is delicious and it keeps longer that way too.
I love watercress with orange - but it is also wonderful and more tangy
with lime. You can just replace the orange zest in this recipe with lime
zest, and use lime juice in the dressing instead of orange juice.
It is well worth cutting the bread for these sandwiches and then filling them so that you can see whole leaves at the edge of the bread as in the pictures. If you fill the sandwiches with watercress first and then cut them up, it's not quite as pretty.
Watercress sandwiches are delicious with mint tea or Earl Grey - especially when served with just lemon and no milk.
As part of a larger spread, watercress sandwiches go well with ham sandwiches, tomato sandwiches and tuna sandwiches. With this combination, I would serve lemon scones and apple fruit cake with either Earl Grey tea or English Breakfast.
What a beautiful summer afternoon tea!