Southern-Style Tea Sandwiches

By: Nealey Dozier
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"April showers bring May flowers." At least that’s how the saying goes. Well down South, April brings more than just inclement weather. With it arrives a storm of baby showers, bridal parties and weddings. And because southerners have never needed an excuse to throw a party, you can guarantee plenty of invitations to arrive at your door.

I usually need a little culinary incentive to attend all of these soirées. The exchanges are quite often familiar ones -- a little juicy gossip, the latest news and weather, maybe a game or two.  Talk about thrilling! But there is always a pot-of-gold at the end of the “small-talk” rainbow, and that’s good food, and lots of it.

Southern hostesses have been around the block a time or two. They usually pull out all the stops in an effort to impress. You’re guaranteed to sample their best versions of deviled eggs, spinach dip, country ham biscuits, and pimiento cheese, all chased down with champagne mimosas and syrupy sweet tea.

Needless to say, you can usually find me roaming near the buffet table. If I’ve put on heels and pearls for such an occasion, there better be some chicken salad as a reward. And nothing excites me more than a tower of tea sandwiches (what is wrong with me?!). These petite finger sandwiches are delicate and light, and you won’t feel remorse after downing a few.

Here are some of my favorite tea sandwich recipes. Roll them out at your next shower to please the hungry girls like me.

Tarragon Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Yields 3 cups (recipe can be easily doubled)

4 cups cooked and shredded chicken (I roasted 2.5 pounds of bone-in breasts)

1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise (I prefer Duke’s or homemade)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon (or more to taste)
1/2 cup chopped red grapes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sliced whole wheat bread, for sandwiches
  • In a medium bowl mix chicken, mayonnaise, sour cream, and tarragon until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Fold in grapes and pecans. Chill for at least one hour. Check seasoning again and adjust, if desired. The chicken salad can be made at least 24 hours in advance.
  • Scoop chicken salad onto a slice of bread. Top with another slice of bread. Cut off crusts, then cut sandwich into desired shape (rectangles, triangles, or rounds).

Note: quantity of sandwiches will vary according to shape of sandwiches.

Blue Cheese and Walnut Tea Sandwiches

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Yields 2 cups (recipe can be easily doubled)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (5 ounce) container crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Sliced pumpernickel bread, for sandwiches
  • With a handheld or standing mixer, cream together cream cheese, blue cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and salt until well combined.  Fold in walnuts and cranberries.  The blue cheese and walnut spread can be made at least 24 hours in advance. Allow to come to room temperature before making the sandwiches (it will become too firm in the refrigerator to spread).
  • Scoop blue cheese and walnut spread onto slice of bread. Top with another slice of bread. Cut off crusts, then cut sandwich into desired shape (rectangles, triangles, or rounds).

Note: quantity of sandwiches will vary according to shape of sandwiches.

Nealey moved from Alabama to the West Coast to follow her dreams, only to realize once there how much she missed good ol’ country cooking.  So she took to the kitchen and began recreating the dishes of her past, but this time without any help from a can. What started out as a hobby turned into an obsession, so she quit her day job to pursue cooking – and eating – full time. Dixie Caviar is where you can follow her pursuits of all things Southern.

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