James Beard took this recipe from his colleagues Irma and Bill Rhode over 60 years ago, but there’s something delicate, fresh and unfussy about the sandwich even now. There isn’t much to it, so each component really matters: Slice the onions thinly and evenly, season well, and be gentle so you don’t squish the bread as you press each sandwich shut. Rolling the edge of the sandwich in chopped parsley (or a mix of parsley and other fresh herbs), gives it a retro styling touch, but it’s crucial for flavor, too.
- Serves: 12 persons
- 1loaf challah or brioche, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- ½cup mayonnaise
- 1to 2 sweet white onions, such as Vidalia
- Crunchy sea salt, to taste
- 1cup fresh herbs, such as parsley, or a mix of parsley, tarragon and marjoram, chopped
Step 1Using a 1 1/2-inch cutter, cut 24 rounds from the bread and arrange in 12 pairs. Spread each round with mayonnaise.
Step 2Slice the onions through the equator, evenly and thinly, and put a slice that fits the bread on half the bread rounds. Salt lightly, then cover with a second round of bread.
Step 3When sandwiches are assembled, spread remaining mayonnaise on a piece of parchment paper, and have the chopped herbs ready in a bowl.
Step 4Hold a sandwich, and roll the edge in mayonnaise, then in the chopped herbs, covering the edge. Cover and chill for about 1 hour and up to 6 hours before serving.