broad bean, courgette and goat’s curd on sourdough toast

3 open-faced sandwich ideas for inspired summer lunches

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Open-faced sandwiches are a great way to solve lunchtime dilemmas – and these simple, satisfying recipes will make your workday infinitely better. 

When the heat is on and midday rolls around, the lunch question can be a real conundrum. Last night’s leftovers don’t appeal, we’re bored of salad, and slathering a slice of toast with peanut butter or Marmite just feels a little bleak.

At the same time, our appetite hasn’t totally evaporated – and if our laziness convinces us to try and get by on a piece of fruit, smoothie or yoghurt, our stomachs will be bitterly complaining once we hit the early afternoon. Pre-pandemic, we’d simply nip to Pret – but 16 months later, the fatigue of making WFH lunches has well and truly set in.

If you’re still working from home most or some of the time, open-faced sandwiches are a no-brainer come 1pm. Known as smørrebrød in Scandinavia, pinchos in Spain and tartines in France, these straightforward snacks come in countless combinations. If you’re the kind to get creative with your food, they’re also a great opportunity to show off beautiful ingredients – just look to the artfully arranged bites on Instagram for proof.

Below, you’ll find three easy open-faced sandwich recipes to solve your lunchtime dilemmas. Kathy Kordalis’ broad bean, courgette and goat’s curd on sourdough toast (pictured above, top left) is a wonderfully quick and extremely pretty vegetarian recipe that makes the most of summer greenery.

Alternatively, if you’ve got some cold cuts of meat in the fridge, try Bronte Aurell’s Scandi-inspired open sandwiches. In her first recipe, shredded chicken is mixed with ingredients including petit pois, soft herbs and crème fraîche for a delicately-flavoured but filling snack.

Aurell’s second serving suggestion, meanwhile, sees cold steak or roast beef piled on top of dark rye bread with frilly lettuce, pickled cucumber and horseradish – a Danish speciality. If you can be bothered, she also shares her recipe for quick onion rings, which make a tasty additional topping. 

These simple but elegant dishes are just right for warm weather. Just remember, it’s all in the layering…

Broad bean, courgette and goat’s curd on sourdough toast

Kathy Kordalis says: “A brown rye sourdough works well with sweet or savoury toppings (buy a good sourdough from your local bakery). Goat’s curd is excellent for cooking, as it is wonderfully versatile. It can be used in sweet or savoury dishes in place of cream cheese, ricotta or quark. It has a fresh, clean flavour and a light, melt-in-the-mouth creamy texture.”


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 courgette, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 150g frozen broad beans, defrosted and skins removed
  • a handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • a handful of chives, finely chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 100g goat’s curd, to serve
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the courgette, spring onions and broad beans. Cook for 10 minutes – they should be just cooked and retain some bite.

Place in a bowl and finish with the herbs, lemon juice and zest, goat’s curd and salt and pepper before spooning onto the sourdough toast.

Adapted from Sharing Food With Friends: Casual Dining Ideas And Inspiring Recipes For Platters, Boards And Small Bites by Kathy Kordalis (£18.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now 

Chicken open sandwiches

chicken open sandwiches
Open sandwich ideas: Bronte Aurell's chicken open sandwiches

Bronte Aurell says: “This works just as well in a two-slice sandwich as it does on an open sandwich, but I just love serving this chicken topping in our café with the beautiful sprouted fennel seeds on top.”

Makes 2 open sandwiches


  • 2 slices of sourdough or seeded crusty bread
  • a little cream cheese or butter, for spreading
  • 4–6 slices cucumber, shaved very thinly lengthways on a mandoline
  • sprouted fennel seeds, to serve

For the chicken mixture:

  • 200g cooked chicken (I favour thigh or leg meat), shredded or cut into pieces
  • handful of petit pois peas, podded, then blanched
  • small ¼ bulb thinly sliced fennel
  • 80ml crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • dash of vinegar
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


Mix the ingredients for the chicken topping together and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lightly toast your slices of bread and spread both with a little cream cheese or butter. Arrange the slices of cucumber on top.

Spoon the chicken mixture over and scatter with the sprouted fennel seeds to serve.

From ScandiKitchen Midsommar: Simply Delicious Food For Summer Days by Bronte Aurell (£18.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now 

Rare steak open sandwiches with crispy onion rings

steak open sandwiches with crispy onion rings
Open sandwich ideas: Bronte Aurell's rare steak open sandwiches with crispy onion rings

Bronte Aurell says: “In Denmark, thinly sliced roast beef is traditionally served on open sandwiches, but I love using thick slices of rare steak instead.”

Makes 2 open sandwiches


  • 2 slices of dark rye bread, buttered
  • handful of lamb’s lettuce
  • 200g rare steak in the cut of your choice (cold or just rested), cut into thick slices
  • 4 slices pickled cucumber
  • 2 large tbsp remoulade sauce
  • grated fresh horseradish or horseradish sauce
  • freshly chopped parsley, to garnish

For the crispy onion rings:

  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 small onions, sliced into rings
  • 125ml vegetable oil, for frying
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

You’ll also need:

  • cooking thermometer


To make the crispy onion rings, put the flour in a plastic sandwich bag and season with salt and pepper. Add the onions and shake until coated. Discard excess flour.

Fill a small saucepan one third of the way up with vegetable oil. Heat the oil to 130–140°C. If the oil is too hot, your onions will burn, and if it is too cold they will be soggy, so take care with this.

Add a third of the onions to the hot oil and cook for a few minutes or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Repeat the frying process twice more with the rest of the onions.

Top both slices of the buttered rye bread with your salad leaves. Arrange the slices of steak on the bread, then add pickled cucumber slices and a dollop of remoulade sauce to each.

Add the horseradish and pile on the crispy onions. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley to finish.

From ScandiKitchen Midsommar: Simply Delicious Food For Summer Days by Bronte Aurell (£18.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now 

Photography: Mowie Kay / Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small

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