Egg and Cress Picnic Sandwiches

    The combination of egg mayonnaise and crunchy, peppery cress is hard to beat, but I find standard sprouting cress a nuisance; bite into it at the wrong angle and it comes out of your sandwich in a soggy tangle and drips everywhere. So here I've substituted a packeted watercress salad mix, chopped. The same peppery taste but with more volume and crunch, and a bit more manageable. Manageability is what these sandwiches are all about, even if you only happen to be picnicking on your sofa. As someone who can't digest without a book in one hand, I like a sandwich that can be picked up and eaten without any unpleasant surprises. The aggressively crusty, 'creative' pile it high, splatter and smear designer sandwich is not for me. How do you transfer it to your mouth without disaster? I'd need a chainsaw. And a facemask. So here you have it. A tasty nourishing sandwich that should travel well and behave itself - a sandwich that doesn't argue!

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    • (For every two rounds of sandwich) 2 hardboiled large eggs
    • Four slices good quality bread - something docile, not crusty or crumbly. I find Hovis Wheatgerm reliable
    • Access to a packet of watercress and spinach salad or similar - use to own taste
    • Scant dessertspoonful good quality mayonnaise
    • Quarter of a teaspoon garlic puree
    • Spreadable butter (it need not be too thick; in fact even the thinnest coat provides flavour and adhesiveness)
    • Salt and pepper to season, to taste


    1. Peel eggs when cool, chop well, add mayonnaise, garlic puree, salt and pepper to taste, and mash and mix thoroughly. Doesn't matter if there are a few lumps, as long as everything binds together without sloppiness, which is why I'm careful with the mayonnaise. As a garlic freak I have been known to put chopped raw garlic into this, but you may find puree a little more civilised.
    2. Chop salad lightly - just so that you don't end up with long stringy pieces making a mess of your chin or tee shirt, which can be undignified.
    3. Butter bread to taste, right to the edges, unless you really absolutely hate buttered sandwiches. But it does bind them together!
    4. Spread egg mayo right to the edges of two slices of the bread, cover with an even layer of cress salad, and season salad if liked (I do like.)
    5. Cover with top slices, press down gently and cut diagonally, and even diagonally again if feeling dainty. This sandwich should not squidge or collapse - it should behave!
    6. Eat.


    These sandwiches won't live to fight again another day as cress and any green leaves will go soggy after contact with salt. They do need to be eaten within hours. But you can prepare the filling beforehand and put them together at the last minute. Gardeners willl be fortunate enough to be more creative regarding cress and cressy flavours. There are land cresses that grow like weeds - and don't despise nasturtium leaves which give a salad or sandwich a wonderful 'cressy' peppery flavour. In fact if you're serving these up at your garden party you could cut them up into dainty finger sandwiches as suggested above, and even garnish with a green sprig and a nasturtium flower ... first removing any inhabitants ... an anxious earwig scrabbling around on the best china might not create quite the right ambience ... errm, more tea, Vicar?

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