I am featuring tartines the last three days of this week, which I discovered on my recent trip to London. I could go on and on about all the fun variations and deliciousness of these open-faced French-inspired sandwiches, but you'll have to trust me, try them just once and you'll see what I mean. They're simple to make, extremely tasty and can be adapted to whatever you might have in your pantry and refridge. Paired with some fresh fruit or a simple salad, I have a feeling that tartines will become a favorite at your house too!
My husband found some beautiful asparagus on sale at the market this week and I knew as soon as I laid eyes on it that it would find its way into a yummy tartine one evening this week. I looked online for tartine recipes that included asparagus and found some interesting and delicious variations. I combined a few of the ideas I saw, added some of my own and came up with Tartine with Pesto, Prosciutto and Asparagus Salad. Instead of serving a salad on the side, I just piled up the thinly shaved asparagus and juicy tomatoes on top of the toasted tartine and drizzled it with bit of extra virgin olive oil and white balsamic reduction. I tried it out for lunch today and then served it to my husband for dinner. It was so delicious that I might just have it for breakfast tomorrow morning!
Tartine with Pesto, Prosciutto and Asparagus Salad
4 thick slices rustic bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons pesto
8-12 slices proscutto, sliced paper thin
1 cup Fontina or Gouda cheese, grated
1 pound asparagus, shaved into thin ribbons**, leave tips intact
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grape (or cherry) tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
extra virgin olive oil, your best for drizzling
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
fresh basil, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted*
1. Place balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring vinegar to a boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup. Set aside to cool down.
2. Using a pastry brush, brush both sides of each slice of bread lightly with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for about 1 minute or until golden brown, flip bread slices to other side and repeat. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove baking sheet from oven.
3. Spread 1 teaspoon pesto on each bread slice, top each with 1/4 cup of the Fontina or Gouda cheese (try to cover as much of the bread as possible). Drape with 2-3 slices prosciutto and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan or Assiago cheese.
4. Place back under broiler for a further 1-2 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and melted.
5. Pile shaved asparagus and grape (or cherry) tomato halves on top of each slice. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction to taste. Season with freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle with pine nuts and fresh basil.
**To shave asparagus; wash and dry the asparagus and trim off the woody ends, then with a sharp vegetable peeler shave thin ribbons starting at the stalk end. I like to do this early in the day and place in a bowl of ice water. I keep this in the refrigerator until I'm ready to prepare tartines; then I drain and dry on paper towels. The ice water actually helps the asparagus to curl a bit and makes it look really pretty.
*To toast pine nuts; place in a small pan and bake at 300-325 for approximately 10 minutes or until golden.