Watercress Sandwiches

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.

Sandwiches are so pretty when served on a proper sandwich platter. I love this Royal Albert Old Country Roses Sandwich Tray which is available at Amazon. I think this pattern would look particularly pretty with slightly old-fashioned watercress.

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

Level: Easy
Makes 4 tea sandwiches

2 slices brown bread
1 tbsp butter
1tsp grated orange zest

1/4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp orange juice

Watercress, washed

  • In a small bowl, mash the orange zest into the butter until creamy.

  • Lay one slice of bread on top of the other and cut off the crusts, and cut into four triangles.

  • Take the sandwich apart again, section by section to make sure you keep the right top with each bottom. Now carefully pick over the watercress. Snip off the long stems and just use short pieces of watercress and gently place on one slice of bread with the leaves showing to the top part of the triangle.

  • Make the dressing by shaking all three ingredients together in a jar.

  • Drizzle a little of the dressing over the watercress, and sprinkle with a tiny amount of salt.

  • Put the top slice on, press down lightly, and repeat with the other four triangles.

Serve with

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!

If you loved these Watercress Sandwiches, you might adore Cucumber Sandwiches.