Food & Drink: Weekend Cook

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The Independent Culture

Serves any number

Total time: 5 minutes

THE MOST memorable thing I ate last weekend was a mustard and cress sandwich. No, in truth it was three mustard and cress sandwiches. It began with just the one, but because I had a supremely fresh loaf of white organic bread to hand, and a punnet of mustard and cress, that extended to two, and then three.

It is one thing to build a sandwich around a particular filling. It is quite another to celebrate the bread itself. One of the most delicious and sometimes neglected ways of eating that prize white loaf is with a raw peppery vegetable such as radishes, mustard and cress or watercress. And on from that, those English classics, cucumber and sorrel. The mediator is the butter. One of the more curious sums within cooking is that salted butter has absolutely nothing in common with unsalted butter eaten in conjunction with seasalt. A good French unsalted butter and a crunchy seasalt are essential in this elementary line-up.

White bread, thinly sliced

Unsalted butter, softened

Either mustard and cress, watercress, thinly sliced radishes, sorrel leaves, or peeled and thinly sliced cucumber

Maldon sea salt, or similar

Precise quantities are not important here. Your bread, of the utmost freshness should be thinly sliced and buttered. From here fill it generously with any of the leaves or vegetables suggested and sprinkle over a few flakes of sea salt. Close and cut into two or four. Eat it, make another round and so on until you have had your fill.