What Kentucky Derby party would be complete without the famous Benedictine sandwiches? With their smooth-cool elegance, they remain a timeless classic which is perfectly paired with a mint julep and hot Kentucky cheese wafers. My inner feminist also celebrates their inventor, who managed and founded Benedict’s (a restaurant and catering service) in downtown Louisville, Kentucky in the early 1900s. Benedict’s was the place to cater for the muckety-mucks Derby parties. The inventor and entrepreneur’s name? None other than: Jennie Benedict.
What You’ll Need:
- 12 ounces cream cheese or quark
- 2 sweet onions (preferably Vidalia)
- 2 English cucumbers (seedless)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 or 1 full teaspoon Tabasco sauce (any hot sauce will work)
- sea salt or Kosher salt
- a few drops of green food coloring
- thinly sliced bread
Pull out your food processor, cheese grater, or whatever grinding device you can find. Peel and chunk the cucumbers, then grate the cucumber into a flour sack cloth or a piece of cheesecloth. Now, squeeze out the juice into the sink. You don’t want soppy sandwiches. Yuck.
Peel and chunk the onions, then grate into a flour sack cloth or a piece of cheesecloth. Squeeze the juice into a bowl and discard the chopped onion (may be used for onion bagels later… mmmm). Set aside.
Now place the grated cucumber into a bowl (or just keep using that food processor). Add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and hot sauce to the cucumber. Now pour in as much onion juice as you wish (be careful not to add so much that you have soup — just enough to make a nice creamy spread). Drop in some green food coloring for a boost or skip it altogether. Add salt to taste.
Make finger sandwiches with the spread and the bread (remove crusts and cut into two-bite sandwiches). Refrigerate at least an hour before serving — make sure the sandwiches are quite cool.
Now, quickly sneak a few sandwiches into a napkin. This is your reward for all of that hard work. Take it from me — these things disappear in seconds and then the maker is left without any samples. And that’s just not fair.
This version of Benedictine Sandwiches comes from my grandmother. I’m off for a mint julep. Shhh!
an American (slang) word used to denote pompous, rich, stuffy, vainglorious, snobby aristocracy types who think they rule the world.