This ham sandwich with cucumber recipe is a sweet cherry tea treat


Polish ham and cucumber sandwiches

Total time:15 minutes


Total time:15 minutes


When I was 13 or 14 I had a good friend named Ola. Sometimes I went to her house after school. She was studious and curious and shy, like me, and we spent hours reading happily and quietly as we planned our future lives, complete with renderings of our future dream homes. Ola’s family immigrated to the United States from Poland in the early 1980s, shortly after her birth.

I wish I could remember Ola’s mother’s name, but all I can remember is how tidy she kept her home, and the ham sandwiches she served with cherry flavored tea.

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Ola’s mother’s kitchen was pure white: white counters, white cabinets, white tiles. Her crockery was blue and white and looked like it had been hand painted, the brush strokes forming beautiful repeating and complementary patterns on each piece. The kitchen table was next to the kitchen window that overlooked the front yard, which was home to a single maple tree whose leaves turned golden and then a gorgeous orange each October.

I don’t know how many afternoons I’ve spent sitting at that table and staring into the distance. My daydreams were always interrupted by our after-school snack big enough to be dinner: two slices of bread thickly buttered, topped with Polish ham and sliced ​​cucumber. There was always black tea sweetened with cherry syrup, a recipe Ola’s mother had brought from Warsaw.

When she first served it I was confused. It was so different from the ham sandwich I grew up with, which was made on a soft grocery store baguette and had mayonnaise, ham, and Colby cheese in it. A sandwich with butter instead of mayonnaise? A ham sandwich without cheese? But then I took a bite and sipped my tea and it all made sense.

Salty and meaty, Polish ham has a dense texture that goes well with crunchy pickles. The soft white bread was easier to bite into than a baguette, and I still love the interplay between the sweet, tannic tea and the salty, buttery sandwich.

I have recreated it many times for my home. Here’s my best approximation so you can try it too. It makes a wonderful lunch or dinner, especially on a chilly fall day.

Polish ham and cucumber sandwiches

  • If you are vegetarian or vegan >> may I suggest these curry chickpea salad sandwiches instead?
  • Instead of the baguette bread >> a seeded wholemeal bread would also be nice here.
  • Instead of butter >> a touch of mustard would add a stronger flavor.
  • From cucumbers? >> Shredded carrots might work well too.

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  • 1/2 soft French bread, cut diagonally into 4 (1 inch thick) pieces, or other thickly sliced ​​white bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
  • 8 thin slices of cooked ham, preferably Polish
  • 2 Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Fine salt (optional)
  • Brewed black tea, sweetened to taste cherry syrupfor serving (optional)

On a cutting board or clean surface, butter one side of each slice of bread. Top each with two thin slices of ham and the pickles, neatly placing the pickles on top of each sandwich. Season lightly with salt if necessary. Serve with sweetened black tea, if you like.

Per serving (2 open sandwiches with unsalted butter)

Calories: 418; total fat: 17 g; Saturated fat: 8 g; cholesterol: 71 mg; Sodium: 971 mg; carbohydrates: 39 g; fiber: 2 g; sugar: 3 g; Protein: 28 g.

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a nutritionist or nutritionist.

By staff author G. Daniela Galarza.

Tested by Kara Elder; email questions [email protected].

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