Earning pride of place at the center of many a ’40s and ’50s bridal shower or christening table, the frosted sandwich loaf was a tower of cream-cheese-slathered creativity. Vegetable, meat, fish, cheese, fruit and nut fillings, and flavored butters were spread over breads stacked and sliced in pretty patterns (gangplank, ribbon, checkerboard), covered in whipped cream cheese that could be “delicately tinted with a few drops of vegetable coloring.” The challenge lay in the composition: fillings for the multiple layers needed to work well together, creating harmony of flavor and contrast in texture. So should it be cheese and bacon, layered with olive-butter and onion cream cheese? Or maybe apricot,-cream with a nutted cheese layer? We fiddled around with a few and liked this chicken & cucumber salad with onion-cream cheese version we tested in response to requests by reader Christine Sebek.
Makes 1, 6 serving sandwich loaf
Chicken & Veg filling Ingredients
- 1 small loaf unsliced white bread (we used Panera)
- 1 small loaf unsliced wheat bread (we used Panera)
- one stick butter, softened
- 2 cups chicken, finely ground
- 1 cup, finely-chopped cucumber
- 1/2 cup, finely-chopped celery
- 1/4 cup finely-chopped dill pickles, or, capers
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- salt & pepper to taste
Onion-cream-cheese filling and frosting Ingredients
- 1 package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup cream or milk
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tsp grated onion
- 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
- dash white pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Trim crusts from bread loaves. Flip the loaves over. It’s good if the trimmed loaves have a slightly trapezoidaly shape (i.e. wider base with sides sloping up to a slightly narrower top). Slice each loaf into 3/4-inch slices, horizontally. Take the bottom white bread piece and make this the base. Spread with softened butter. Set aside.
- Mix together chicken, cucumber, celery pickle, mayo and salt and pepper. Set aside. In another small bowl, whip together cream cheese, milk, mayo, onion, Worchestershire sauce, pepper and salt. Set aside.
- Starting with the base piece you already spread with butter, spread this relatively thickly with the chicken spread. Top this with a slice of wheat bread. Spread with butter again. Spread this with the onion cream cheese mixture (not too thickly.) Top this with a slice of the white loaf. Butter. Spread with more of the chicken spread. Crown with a final slice of wheat bread. Cover the whole loaf in the remaining onion cream cheese. Decorate. Chill. Slice and serve.
- Note: you will have extra trimmed bread and chicken spread. If you like, make some mini-finger sandwiches with these extras