After a long day of shopping and running errands, I popped into one of my familiar haunts – a French cafe in the West village that serves the very best tartines. A tartine is a popular Parisian dish, in which different ingredients are arranged and served on a slice of bread that rests on a bed of greens. Picture a open-faced sandwich, where you are only limited by your pantry’s ingredients, but limitless in your culinary creativity. I usually opt for prosciuttoÂ and grilled peaches on arugula or the perennial: smoked mozzarella & grilled chicken, but today I was feeling cheeky, aching for something sweet, but not too much so, and so I settled on the mission figs, honey, and ricotta on slices of wheat sourdough.
I love this play on texture and taste. The super sweet, almost syrupy quality of the dried figs paired with the ricotta (which is a cheese made from whey and is used in both savory and sweet Italian dishes) with honey for additional sweetness and tomatoes, sliced radishes and cucumbers tossed in for good measure. Cream and crunch. Sweet and peppery – this sandwich had it all, and here’s how you can recreate it in your own home.
Ingredients (serves one)
Note: I use only local/organic ingredients because that’s how I roll
2 slices of toasted whole wheat sourdough bread
3 dried mission figs (you can use regular dried figs), finely diced
1/4 cup of drained fresh ricotta cheese (please, please do not get the Polly O brand. Invest in the good stuff; you’ll taste the difference)
1 cup of mixed greens
1 plum tomato, seeded, finely diced
1/4 of cucumber, sliced paper thin
scattering of sliced radishes (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
honey for drizzling
Optional: want to jazz up the figs? soak the figs in a few tablespoons of brandy or a medium-heavy bodied red wine until the luscious dried fruit reconstitutes a bit and plumps up. I’m a no-alcohol kind of gal, but I do remember how amazing figs were when immersed in a fine Burgundy.
On the toasted bread, slather on the ricotta. Top with diced figs & tomatoes. Drizzle honey on top and then add a sprinkling of the black pepper. Cut the bread into small rectangles. On a plate, place greens, radishes and cucumbers – this will act as the bed for your ravishing tartines. Place tartines on top of the greens. Voila! Tartines. It’s that simple. And remember, this recipe is to my taste. You may want more/less of the above ingredients – adjust to your liking.