If you don’t know tartines, then you should. That sounds dirty, and sometimes it is – in the sense that when I eat tartines I often spill food on myself, but what else is new? A tartine is simply a toasted piece of bread (real bread, not the stuff that comes sliced in a plastic bag from the supermarket) with food piled on top, and it usually involves meat and/or cheese. There is an adorable restaurant right up the street from my apartment called L’Epicerie, which means ” the green grocer’s”. Except this place doesn’t sell groceries: it sells really delicious tartines. It is half nostalgia shop/half restaurant; a place where people hang out, drink all afternoon and sun themselves on the terrace. It has become a bit of a home away from home for us expats: it is always open, even on Sunday and Monday and the staff are all young, friendly and fun.
So, where else would we go for my friend’s last night in town? Most of my friends here are fellow Anglophones who were also working as assistants this year. For some reason my contract is 2 months longer than all of theirs, so while they are all leaving right about now, I am here for the long haul. I plan on renewing my contract and have no intention whatsoever to return home to the states other than for a few weeks this summer to visit friends and family and attend a wedding (not my own, as many colleagues have assumed). I’ve burrowed into France like a little American tick. However, my friends’ Visas are all expiring, so unfortunately they must head back stateside and reassess: doigts croisés (finger crossed) that some of them will join me again next fall to do the assitantship once more!
Thus, last night found 6 of us sharing yet another meal and yet another bottle of wine. Unfortunately, I was too focused on enjoying my friends (and my food) to take photos of all the beautiful tartines we indulged in, but I did make some recently chez moi that I managed to document:
These particular tartines are apple and blue cheese. Tartines are so versatile and easy to make: just brush some bread in olive oil or melted butter, toast them under the broiler for 1 minute on each side, add the toppings and then broil some more!
Tartines love any marriage of cheese and fruit. I like to use brie, stilton, goat cheese, blue cheese…the list goes on. I couple the cheese with fruit in the form of either compote, jam or whole slices of apple, pear, fig etc….One of my favorites from L’Epicerie is Ambert cheese piled on top of prunes; it is so decadent and rich and sweet! Or, if you want something savory, try making a tuna salad and dolloping some of that on top of the bread and either serving it cold or broiled with cheese. Or smear some pesto on the bread and then top with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella. Really, a tartine is just an open-faced, toasted sandwich. So anything you can put in a sandwich, you can put on a tartine.
If you try a tartine chez vous, let me know what ideas you came up with. Bon appétit!
*This post is dedicated to Emma, Berit, Julia and Georgia. L’Epicerie won’t be the same without you, come back to eat tartines with me soon! Je vous aime et vous me manquez déjà.