Tuesday, February 23, 2010

J'taime Tartines!

Here, friends, is another lesson in working with what you've got. In this case, what I had was bread. A LOT of bread. And what I didn't have was patience.


Ross had picked up a gigantic loaf of Italian bread at the store one day (I love when he goes grocery shopping - the only thing he's guaranteed to come back with is beer, and the rest is inevitably a grab-bag of delicious surprises). The past, oh, month for me can basically be summed up in one appropriately four-letter word: WORK. I've been pulling long hours at the office and had no time to buy food, let alone cook it. These gorgeous little open-faced sandwiches mark my (perhaps temporary) return to the world of the living.


At any rate, a mountain of Italian bread and a whole evening of free time on my hands, I decided to make tartines. Tartines are, as I mentioned, simply open-faced sandwiches. They're (according to Ina Garten) a Parisian cafe staple, and I love them because they seem less lunch-y than a full-on sandwich, yet lighter than a typical dinnertime meal. The beauty of them is that you can top them with literally anything you want. I've made peanut butter-pear-cheddar versions, topped them with prosciutto and piled lemony arugula on top...you name it. The bread is your canvas, limited only by your cravings.


Of the three I made, my personal favorite was the ham and Gouda - but then again I'm a sucker for anything smoky. Ross liked the Reuben-style tartines. These would be fantastic for a party, or anytime, really. The best part is that they're no-fuss, super fast, and really economical. I hope you experiment with some fabulous toppings of your own!

INGREDIENTS

3 very large slices good quality Italian bread
corned beef, sliced thinly
salami, sliced thinly
maple-glazed ham, sliced thinly
Swiss cheese, sliced thinly
smoked Gouda, sliced thinly
mayo
Red cabbage kraut

[Thousand Island:]
mayo
ketchup
sweet pickle relish

Grapes and Salad for serving (optional)



STEP ONE:

Heat oven to 375 with a baking stone or baking sheet inside it. When hot, place the bread slices on the baking sheet and allow to crisp a bit (for about 5-10 minutes).

STEP TWO:

Remove bread from oven and top with meats and cheeses. My combos were:

- [Reuben:] Thousand Island, corned beef, red cabbage kraut, and Swiss
- Mayo, ham, and Gouda
- Salami and Swiss

STEP THREE:

Place back in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, slice into smaller pieces, and serve. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

This looks delicious! The cukes look so crunchy and salubrious! Your commentary always cracks me up, too, Elizabeth! Love the bit about being able to rely on Ross bringing beer home from the grocery. I can totally commiserate.

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