Let’s face it – summer is winding down. I should be looking forward to fall squash, crisp tart apples, and colourful leaves falling from trees, but I’m NOT READY YET. It still feels like summer here, even though the skies are now dark before 9pm. It’s still warm out at 10pm, and later today I’m biking over to the PNE, which is a big ol’ summer fair with the best wooden rollercoaster, corndogs on sticks and a barn full of cute animals. I’m cramming in the best of summer as quick as I can.
Lately, salads have played a key role in how I eat when it’s hot out, but I need to throw out a fist bump for sandwiches. Especially a sandwich that is a study in contrast in the most delicious way.
See all the layers? There’s crunchy wholewheat toast, firm slices of Gouda, crisp & refreshing cucumbers, mild shallots, a spicy slice of jalepeno, leafy & heady dill, salty sunflower seeds and a light schmear of mayonnaise. Everything comes together into one heck of a sandwich. I work from home so it’s easy to prepare for a satisfying lunch. And since I first made this in early July, it’s been on lunchtime rotation almost weekly.
You can sub into almost any cheese. I’ve tried Havarti and a good, strong Cheddar with equally fine results. If you don’t love mayo, a good spread of cream cheese would kill two birds with one tasty stone. I love fresh dill, but I’m sure some basil would add an interesting twist.
The idea to add in sunflower seeds came from a sandwich I had years ago. It was purchased from a deli close to the ferry terminal en route to a quick day hike to Bowen island. The sandwich was a vegetarian one filled with cucumbers, cream cheese and smoked almonds. I’m sure there were other things in the sandwich as well, but it was the smoked almonds that hit me like a lightening bolt. Here was a great texture with a delicious non-meaty way to add that delicious smoky flavour.
But smoked almonds and me are a dangerous combination–I’ll pretty much start on one smoked almond and won’t stop until the bag is over. So sunflower seeds seemed like a good enough substitute. If you have the gift of self-control, go ahead and add in some chopped smoked almonds (and maybe some cream cheese too!).
Sandwich days. Enjoy this sandwich right now while there is still time for tank tops and sandals and your neighbour hands you a fresh-from-the-garden cucumber. Luckily sandwich days last year-round. Enjoy!
the best cucumber & cheese sandwich
2 slices of your favourite whole grain bread
thin slices of gouda (or your favourite cheese)
thin cucumber slices
salted, roasted sunflower seeds
1 tiny shallot, sliced thin (or a really thin slice of red onion)
a few thin slices of jalapeno pepper
a sprig of dill, torn
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
Toast your bread. Slather both slices with mayo – as thin or as gloopy as you like. Layer slices of cheese over 1 slice of toast. Layer slices of cucumber over top. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Strategically place shallot and jalepeno slices here and there. Tear up some dill over top and add a pinch of kosher salt if you’re like me. Grind some fresh pepper over the whole thing. If you’re feeling extravagant, go ahead and add another slice of cheese….go on! Top with 2nd slice of toast, mayo side down (do I really need to mention that?), and slice on the diagonal. Eat.