Spinach artichoke tea sandwiches are light, delicate appetizers perfect for a springtime or summertime afternoon tea! The spread uses freshly steamed spinach and a squeeze of lemon for a bright, fresh flavor, and is rounded out with a good helping of parmesan cheese. Garnish with a bit of lemon zest for a pop of color!
Put spinach in a microwave-safe bowl with a splash of water and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave for 3 minutes or until fully wilted.
Drain spinach. When cool enough to handle, put spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much excess moisture as possible. You'll end up with a tiny little ball of steamed spinach. Transfer to a cutting board and chop finely.
To prepare the preserved lemon, first cut it into wedges. Remove the flesh from each wedge with a knife and discard. You will only be using the rind. Finely dice the rind and set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream until smooth.
Add in chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, preserved lemon rind, and black pepper. Add 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice to taste and 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to taste.
For the sandwiches
Freeze bread for 30 minutes prior to assembling the sandwiches.
Spread a heaping 1/4 cup of spread evenly on each of 8 slices of bread, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Top each with another slice of bread.
Using a serrated bread knife and a sawing motion with gentle pressure (so as not to squeeze out the filling), cut off the crusts of each sandwich. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally, then in half the other way diagonally, to create four triangular tea sandwiches.
To make ahead
Artichoke spinach lemon spread may be made several days in advance and refrigerated, covered.
Tea sandwiches may be served immediately or made a day in advance. To store, arrange sandwiches in an airtight container with parchment paper between layers if you're stacking sandwiches on top of each other. Top the final layer with a piece of parchment paper followed by a damp paper towel to keep the bread from drying out. Let sandwiches come to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Where to buy preserved lemons: Preserved lemons can be difficult to find locally. They are a common ingredient in Moroccan cooking so you may have luck at an ethnic grocery store or at World Market. They can also be ordered online: These are the ones I've gotten.If you cannot get preserved lemons, they can be omitted from the recipe and it will still be delicious! They add nice salty-tangy bursts to the spread, much like capers would do (do not substitute capers).