How to make ahead but not soggy?
Ask-a-Caterer Replies to:
Alice from San Diego, California, who asked about finger sandwiches:
Alice writes: “I'm having a small reception for my wedding, basically a tea party type of setting, I want to serve finger sandwiches and what not... I was wondering if they could all be made the day before the event and what precautions do I take, and what ingredients would be best to not have soggy sandwiches?”
Ask-a-Caterer Replies: Hey Alice - We've got a cool way to do this - see if you like it:
Go to a bakery and special order bread sliced length-wise, the same thickness as normal slices. So you wind up with pieces that are approx. 6" x 12" x 1/2" - can you see it?
OK - trim off the crust from all sides, lay each slice flat, and spread it with your favorite fillings, as long as they are finely processed (as few chunks as possible.) Then, roll them up into pinwheels, and wrap tightly with film.
Refrigerate overnight. In the am - the bread will have absorbed some of the filling, and will stay in the round, even after you cut them into bite size sandwiches.
Take some time to cut them nicely, wiping the knife blade after each cut - we dip the knife in hot water every so often too.
And - if you’re not the rolling kind - use the same bread size, spread filling on each one, and stack the slices 3 or 4 breads high. Wrap and refrigerate like above - then cut them into squares. We toothpick these and add a olive, pickle, etc.
You can have a ball with different colors of breads, filings, etc - and you do them all the day before - cool, eh?
The easiest way to do these is to stuff rolls with different fillings. Commercial rolls, like the kind you get a Sam’s Club, or Costco, etc., are usually 1 ounce in size - maybe 1 little more. We decoratively cut them, pull out some bread from the inside, and fill.
Stuffing them can be a lot faster when you use a piping bag - the kind bakers use to decorate cakes. A fancy tip on the bag can add to the sandwich as well.
We like to think that people can eat a finger sandwich in 2 bites. Maybe that’s the best way to organize the size for the tea party, finger size.
For these roll-up styles, figure 1/3 ounce of sandwich filling per sandwich - not a lot at all. After trimming, you might have a 5” x 11” piece - you’ll spread the filling fairly thin, because you’re going to be rolling it up, and then cutting into 1/2” rounds.
One nice filling is bologna or ham, ground up very fine, with mayo, mustard, pickle, etc. The color works nicely here.
Follow the guidance above - just pay special attention to your food handling - keep everything refrigerated, and covered with film so that the breads don’t dry out.
Also - when you make your fillings, go with a drier mix - we made the fillings the day before and squeeze the moisture out of them (with our gloved hand) just before assembling.
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