Traditional recipes for dainty finger sandwiches that are ideal for afternoon tea include thinly sliced ham, egg salad, tomato, roast chicken and the true classic, cucumber. All of these fillings are tasty without being so strong that they overpower delicate tea flavors. Served between thinly sliced buttered bread and cut into triangles or on buckwheat or rye rounds as small open sandwiches, they create the feel of a traditional English afternoon tea.
Some recipes call for a mix of white and wheat bread, used alternately to create a pleasing color effect when sandwiches are stacked or arranged on a serving platter. To make sandwiches even more dainty, remove the crusts. Buttering the bread before adding the chosen fillings is important, as it prevents the bread from becoming soggy during a leisurely tea and talking session. Mayonnaise and other overpowering condiments such as mustard are best used sparingly if at all. The quantity of filling used in each sandwich must not be excessive; dribbling and oozing is not dainty.
For a less traditional spread, Epicurious.com offers a range of tea sandwich recipes, including sesame-crusted crab and mango, smoked salmon-wasabi and herbed Vidalia onion. These are still dainty sandwiches, but they have more distinct flavors and are best served with a more deeply aromatic tea such as Assam.