The internet is a marvelous thing. I wanted to know where tartines originated and after a few clicks, I learned that the “open-faced sandwich” originated during the Middle Ages, where food was served on thick slabs of bread that were used in the place of plates. The staler the better! I began to wonder if bread bowls had a similar history and after a few more clicks, I learned that the bread bowl was invented around the same time – in the 1400s – and was created to impress a Duke who then funded a bread bowl cafe in Dublin. Isn’t that interesting? I then started thinking about bread bowl recipes, which led me to clam chowder bread bowls in San Francisco, which brought me to Alcatraz Island, and then to haunted prisons in the US.
And now I’m eating buttered toast while slightly terrified.
The greatest thing about tartines is that the combinations are truly limitless. Any sort of spread, meat, or fruit can be used as toppings. There are savory tartines toppped with shrimp and steak, peppers, and cheese or a pâté and there are sweet tartines with apples and berries drizzled with honey.
I chose to modify this dish for brunch and came up with three different combinations: a smoked salmon with cream cheese and chives, a fluffy scrambled egg with roasted asparagus, and a sweet tartine with ricotta cheese, fresh strawberries, basil, and honey. They hardly took any time at all to prepare and there were several different flavors for different palates. I used rye slices of bread for a heartier meal, but I think they’d make great appetizers by using a bread with a smaller surface, like a baguette.
I hope you enjoy! Again, the combinations are endless, so adjust and experiment to try the possibilities!
- 6 oz smoked salmon
- 4 slices rye bread, toasted
- 3/4 cup chive and onion cream cheese
- 5 chive sprigs, chopped finely
- Toast the rye bread and spread cream cheese. Top with salmon and chives.
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup half-and-half or milk
- 8 asparagus stalks, ends chopped
- 1/2 tbsp butter
- 4 slices rye bread, toasted
- olive oil spray
- salt and pepper
- Heat toaster oven to 400 degrees. Spray asparagus with olive oil, and generously sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on baking tray with aluminum foil and roast for 10-15 minutes, until tender, but still crisp.
- In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Scramble eggs with milk and add salt and pepper. When butter is completely melted, pour eggs into pan and let sit for a couple of minutes before stirring. Stir occasionally until eggs are fully cooked.
- Toast rye bread. Place scrambled eggs over toast and top with roasted asparagus.
- 4 sliced rye bread, toasted
- 8-10 large strawberries, sliced thin, length-wise
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 tbsp honey, more to taste
- 4-5 basil leaves, rolled and sliced thin
- Combine the strawberries and agave nectar in a small bowl and set aside. In another small bowl, combine ricotta and honey. Spread on bread, top with strawberries and garnish with basil.