The addition of lemon chive cream cheese spread dresses up any finger sandwich! You’ll feel like a queen for afternoon tea! Visit the Afternoon Tea homepage here.
Today marks week three of Tea for Tuesdays, my new weekly feature highlighting afternoon tea recipes! I hope you’ve all been enjoying this new weekly post as much as I have. I love any excuse for making and eating scones and elegant finger foods!
Okay, so on the surface, today’s recipe for lemon chive cream cheese spread might not seem as exciting as last week’s almond poppy seed scones — I mean, it’s just a spread, right? You can’t eat it by itself! — but you can use it to dress up any tea sandwich and I promise you the flavor will knock your socks off!
Spreads, in my opinion, are almost as important as scones are for an afternoon tea! You can infuse them with so many lovely flavors that add a delicate airiness to your finger sandwiches. Instead of feeling like you’re eating a smaller version of a brown bag lunch without the crusts, the right spread can make you feel like a queen.
Imagine, for example, a turkey sandwich on wheat bread. That sounds like a lunch you’d slap together running out the door to work, right?
Now, imagine an open-faced turkey finger sandwich on little triangles of toasted wheat bread, spread with lemon chive cream cheese, and maybe a little spinach, topped with sprouts or microgreens. Dang, sign me up for some of that!
Or you can take something already not mundane, like shrimp or smoked salmon, and dress it up even further. This would also go well with chicken, cucumbers and other vegetables.
I made this spread to go with a smoked salmon and asparagus finger sandwich, which I’ll share with you next week! Dill seems to be the default herb to pair with salmon, but I’m honestly not a huge fan of dill so I wanted another flavor that would complement the salmon without overwhelming it. The lemon chive cream cheese spread was absolutely perfect for the smoked salmon!
I used fresh lemon zest to flavor this spread rather than any lemon juice. The zest infuses a flavor that’s somehow both subtle and powerful at the same time. It’s almost more of a fragrance when it hits your palette, and keeps the eating experience very light and fresh feeling, which is what you want in an afternoon tea.
Another reason to use zest rather than lemon juice is that it adds that concentrated essence-of-lemon taste without watering down your spread at all, so your cream cheese stays nice and thick.
Chopped chives add a subtle oniony flavor to the spread without being overpowering. And if you’ve already purchased a bunch of chives to make the lemon chive cream cheese spread, you can use some of your extra chives as a garnish. Just tie them in a simple knot around a rectangular finger sandwich, like on these deviled egg salad ones! They’re so cute!
In addition to the lemon zest and chopped fresh chives, I added just a touch of mayo to add a punch of extra flavor and smooth creaminess.
You can make this spread several days in advance. Just take it out of the fridge the day you’re making your sandwiches and only spread when it’s fully softened, or you’ll break the surface of your delicate bread slices!
What kind of savory or sandwich would you pair this delicate spread with? Let me know in the comments!
Lemon Chive Cream Cheese Spread
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- zest from one lemon about 4 tsp
- 1 tsp finely chopped chives
- 1 tsp mayo
- Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Use as a spread on chicken, turkey, cucumber, vegetable, shrimp, or smoked salmon finger sandwiches.