This one time, when we lived in Upstate New York, my mother and I met a family friend for lunch somewhere in Niagara on the Lake. I was likely around 6, which was old enough to remember how scenic the restaurant was-I remember it being beautiful-but young enough to not appreciate what I was served. Tea tasted exactly as I imagined earth would, and I could hardly stomach the thought that cucumbers and bread were mingling on the plate in front of me. I don’t even know if I tried the cucumber sandwiches, to be honest; all I remember was not grasping that they could exist. My confusion makes sense when you consider how frequently my sandwiches back then consisted of nothing but peanut butter and jelly. Why would cucumber be my go-to sandwich topping?
Clearly things are different now, and I owe it to a little place in Sarasota, Florida called White Horse Pub. Not everything I have eaten there has been wonderful, but I have learned that the experience is at least guaranteed to be interesting. And if you go, you must promise me you will get their fantastic cucumber sandwich in my honor. Ciabatta bread topped with spinach, cucumber slices, flaky sea salt, and lemon-dill goat cheese. Om nom nom. That sandwich is what inspired the recipe here, and I am sure you will find it quite similar.
Just because I no longer live in Florida does not mean I am incapable of pretending everything is the same! Except, of course, the fact that there is mint (rather than White Horse’s choice of dill) in the goat cheese, spread atop wonderfully perforated ciabatta bread. That, I am afraid, is the only addition I felt necessary when I sought to recreate my beloved sandwich. Now, if someone could just help me find a similar pear cider to enjoy alongside this lovely recipe from my perch in Saint Paul. And also ship me some of the Bourbon Caramel Gingersnap gelato from White Horse’s neighbor, Café a la Mode. Then, I suppose I will be all set.
Cucumber Ciabatta Sandwiches with Spinach and Lemon-Mint Goat Cheese
Makes 4 sandwiches
5 oz goat cheese log (not crumbled), softened
1 tsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
¼ tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
4 3-inch squares ciabatta, sliced in half lengthwise to create 4 sandwiches
1 cucumber, cut diagonally into thin slices
1 cup fresh spinach
Combine goat cheese, mint, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in food processor and pulse until combined. For each individual sandwich: Spread 1.5-2 tbsp goat cheese mixture* on the top half of ciabatta slice. Top the bottom half with ¼ cup fresh spinach, spread out in an equal layer. Top the spinach with cucumbers (roughly 5-6 slices), placed so that they slightly overlap one another. Replace the goat cheese-covered top slice of the bread. Repeat for the other three sandwiches. Serve.
*You may have a little goat cheese left over after this recipe. Feel free to add more to your sandwiches, or else refrigerate it and use it for veggie dipping!