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!
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
Red cabbage kraut
sweet pickle relish
Grapes and Salad for serving (optional)
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).
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
Place back in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, slice into smaller pieces, and serve. Enjoy!