The French have a way of making everything sound fancy. Like tartine, at first read it sounds like some sort of tart with a perfect crust and glorious flavors. When really, a tartine is nosh that America loves and knows very well.
Bread and butter. Oh yes, we don’t need the French to know about this dynamic duo. But nowadays – and thanks to the popularity of bistro-style dining – a tartine on the menu most often denotes an open-faced sandwich. Toppings are come one, come all. At restaurants, the flavors of the tartine are most often leftovers, for lack of a more glamorous word. But don’t count them out as a cheap sell…
While working at Bouchon Bistro in California, I saw them topped with a plethora of goodies – and these hot and steamy open-faced sandwiches were a hit with the lunch and late-night crowd. Truly, it doesn’t really matter what lays atop the long slice of toasted baguette – grilled sausage and peppers, leftover hanger steak and caramelized shallots or yes, tuna and white bean salad. Any way you slice it you get crispy bread and melting butter smothered by succulent meats, salads and garden fresh vegetables.
Tartines are also worth enjoying on the home front. These fancy-sounding sandwiches are a snap to put together with whatever you have on hand, and are perhaps one of the more frugal meals to earn a restaurant reputation. But no one at home needs to know, not even the dog.
- 2 cans tuna in olive oil, drained
- 1 can Navy or Northern beans, drained and rinsed (about 14 ounces)
- 2 Tbs cornichon pickles, minced
- 2 Tbs black olives, such as Kalamata, minced
- 2 Tbs shallots, minced
- 2 Tbs lemon juice, freshly squeezed recommended
- 2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
- TT salt and black pepper
- 1 French baguette, or similar loaf of bread
- As needed European butter, softened
- 2 Tbs mayonnaise
- 2 radishes, sliced thin
- Combine ingredients for tuna salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cut baguette into long, ¼-inch thick slices on a bias using a serrated knife. Lightly toast under oven broiler, and spread with butter first, then mayonnaise. Top each slice of baguette with tuna salad, and garnish with radishes and olives, if desired.
Recommended wine pairing is a dry rosé such as one from Northern California or a Côtes de Provence from France.