1 cup watercress leaves, cleaned (see below)*
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 very thin slices white bread**
4 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
* Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is an aquatic plant renown for it's vivid green color and unique peppery flavor.
** Choose the best-quality bread as possible. Never serve end slices. Freezing the bread before cutting and then spreading makes for easier handling.
How To Clean Watercress: Cut off the stems off the watercress leaves with a knife or scissor; either discard or save the stems for making soup. Place the watercress leaves into a colander. Rinse thoroughly with cool water, tossing the watercress with your hands. Fill a large bowl with a solution of 2 tablespoons white vinegar per 2 quarts of cool water. Place the watercress leaves in the water and let soak for 30 minutes. This will remove any dirty smell or taste from the watercress. Pour the watercress into the colander. Rinse thoroughly once more with cool water. Pat dry with paper towels.
In a medium bowl, toss the cleaned and dried watercress leaves with the salt.
Spread one side of each piece of bread with the butter.
Top four (4) of the slices each with 1/4 cup watercress leaves. Arrange the watercress leaves so they hangs very slightly over the edge of the bread. Top with the remaining four (4) bread slices.
Carefully cut the crusts from each sandwich with a long, sharp knife. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and then cut in half again. If desired, decorative shapes can be made with cookie cutters.
NOTE: The watercress may be replaced with one cup thinly sliced radishes cucumber, apple, or pear. The butter may be flavored with fresh herbs, and if you like, you can use part whole wheat bread and part white sandwich bread.
Yields 4 whole sandwiches or 8 halves or 16 fourths.