There are few dishes more iconically French than the tartine. Think of a tartine as the chic, Parisian older sister of the open-faced sandwich. Simple and easy to make, tartines are a delicious combination of a few really good ingredients. My Parmesan & Arugula Tartine starts with a good crusty country bread that can be found in any bakery or grocery store. Start by toasting a thin slice of bread in a toaster until it is crisp and golden. Let it cool for a minute then schmear a little of my Vert Vinaigrette on top, add shavings of spicy Parmigiano-Reggiano, a few leaves of crisp arugula and finish with some fleur de sel and black pepper, et voilà! I like to serve this as chic little lunch or cut into pieces for an hors d’oeuvre (both with a glass of white wine!). However you serve this, make sure it is often!
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I love a simple but luxe little bite to serve with cocktails or even as a wonderful quick snack. My Crostini de Brie was inspired by a similar dish I had in a cozy French bistro in Milwaukee. It’s crunchy, melty, savory and a bit sweet- everything you want to nibble on with a chilled glass of champagne!
This is the perfect recipe to keep in mind as you hit your local farmer’s markets. Fresh baguette and arugula will be on hand, and the wide variety of locally-harvested honey (try a flavored variety, like truffle or orange blossom) will be showcased beautifully in this fabulously chic hors d’oeuvre. If you are looking for something new to wow your guests with, give this a try!
Crostini de Brie
Ingredients (serves 6, expand recipe as needed)
Baguette – 6 pieces, sliced ¼ inch thick on the diagonal
Unsalted Butter – 12 teaspoons, unsalted, at room temperature
Brie – 6 pieces, sliced ¼ inch thick
Honey – 6 teaspoons
Black Pepper – 3 teaspoons
Fleur de Sel – 1 ½ teaspoons
Arugula – for garnish
Preheat the broiler on the highest setting. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Butter both sides of each baguette slice with 1 teaspoon of butter. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, toast the baguette slices on each side until lightly toasted and golden. Place onto the prepared half sheet pan.
Next, top each slice with brie. Drizzle each slice with 1 teaspoon of honey. Place under the broiler for 60 seconds until slightly melted but not runny. Keep an eye on them, they will burn fast!
Remove from the broiler, sprinkle evenly with pepper, Fleur de Sel and arrange on a serving dish. Garnish each crostini with a few leaves of arugula and serve warm.
When I am hosting a party, I am always looking for impressive yet easy things to serve my guests. I love when a recipe calls for both salty and sweet ingredients, like my Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tartine! The salty butter and salty caramel, bold flavor of the chocolate, and crunchy cashews are the perfect combination to satisfy even the pickiest of palates!
Serve this tartine as part of a cocktail soirée, cut in bite-sized pieces, or as a dessert. Plan for one tartine per person. Or just make one for yourself and enjoy it with a glass of red wine or champagne – c’est parfait!
A tartine is a French open-faced sandwich, like the Italian version of a bruschetta, that can be topped with anything truly fabulous and flavorful. Creating a tartine can be as easy as going through your pantry and refrigerator and choosing ingredients that will pair well and compliment one another. The most important ingredient is the bread! Try to choose a bread that is hearty, crusty, and full of flavor like a Tuscan Pane – my favorite bread for a tartine – keep the plain white bread for homemade breadcrumbs!
Dark Chocolate & Salted Caramel Tartine
Ingredients (serves 1)
French Boule – 1 large slice, lightly toasted and fully cooled (you can also use Sourdough, Wheat, or Tuscan Pane)
Salted Butter – 1 tablespoon, at room temperature
Dark Chocolate – 1 tablespoon, 72% cacao, shaved
Roasted Cashews – 1 tablespoon, unsalted, rough chopped
Fleur de Sel Caramel – 2 teaspoons, at room temperature, favorite store-bought brand
Spread the butter evenly onto one side of the cooled, toasted bread.
Sprinkle the shaved chocolate and cashews evenly onto the buttered side of the bread, and then drizzle with caramel.
Lastly, cut into desired sized pieces and serve.
When life gives you golden raisins make them into bread—isn’t that how that “famous” saying goes? Or perhaps that was something to do with lemons, which in this case you can also add to bread! Needless to say, those two ingredients are the stars in my newest recipe for Golden Raisin Bread.
While I did not start with the intention to make this exact recipe, it just evolved on its own, and turned out to be what I now consider as one of my top ten recipes of all time. And yes, I realize that is a huge statement!
When I headed into my kitchen last week I began testing an Irish Soda Bread recipe, in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. I spent almost two days reading through recipes from my library of cookbooks, and scouring the internet for articles and reviews of recipes that seemed noteworthy. I wanted to make sure my recipe stayed true to the original roots of Irish Soda Bread, at which point I stumbled upon the official web site for The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Breads. I found it to be absolutely fascinating!
As I read through the history of this iconic bread, I learned that traditional Irish Soda Bread has just four ingredients: Buttermilk, flour, salt, and baking soda. Any deviation from that simple formula would not only make it not authentic, but it would also change the flavor, texture, and appearance. Instead of trying to “re-create” an historic tradition, I decided to take the base ingredients, add other flavorings, and try to create something new and different, but grounded in the theme of an Irish Soda Bread.
After scrumptious taste-testing and almost eight loaves of bread later, my Golden Raisin Bread was finished! I transformed the classic recipe with additions like lemon zest, brown sugar, and golden raisins—a simple bread loaf became something perfect to serve at breakfast (toasted with raspberry preserves), at teatime (accompanied by clotted cream), or even as part of a bread basket with lunch or dinner (salted butter, anyone?!).
The texture is somewhere between a biscuit and a scone, the lemon zest adds a lovely brightness, and the golden raisins add both sweetness and a fabulous texture. The entire recipe is prepared using a big bowl and rubber spatula—no electric mixer, no rising, no fuss. All of the ingredients are readily found at your local grocery store, and from start to finish takes less than 60 minutes—making it the perfect bread to bake on a whim!
Golden Raisin Bread
Flour – 4 cups, all-purpose, plus 2 tablespoon
Baking Soda – 2 teaspoons
Cream of Tartar – ½ teaspoon
Fine Sea Salt – 2 teaspoons
Dark Brown Sugar – 4 tablespoons
Buttermilk – 2 cups, cold
Eggs – 1 extra-large, plus 1 extra-large yolk, at room temperature
Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons
Golden Raisins – 2 cups
Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted, melted
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together 4 cups of flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and raisins. Toss to coat. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, and lemon zest. Lightly beat to break up the yolks.
Next, add the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold everything together until it is just combine.
Add the raisins and fold them into the dough.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times until it forms a round loaf, roughly 9-inches around by 3-inches high.
Place the loaf onto the prepared sheet pan. Using a serrated knife, cut an “X” into the top of the loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the melted butter.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown. The loaf will have a hollow sound when you tap the top.
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Serve either warm or at room temperature.
I’m often asked what my guilty pleasures are and I have to admit that FABULOUS bread and flavored butters are on the top of my list! When I’m in the mood to bake my own bread, my Provencal Boule is my go-to recipe. It’s a very “user friendly” recipe and requires hardly any kneading. The flavors are earthy, the crust is crunchy and it pairs well with my flavored butters and a glass of wine or champagne for dinner, when only that combination will do after a long day!
Ingredients (makes 1 boule)
Flour – 3 cups, all-purpose
Yeast – 1 packet, active dry yeast (¼ ounce)
Fleur de Sel (French sea salt) – 1¾ teaspoons
Honey – 4 tablespoons
Herbs de Provence – 2 tablespoons
Black Pepper – ½ – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked
Olive Oil – 2 teaspoons
Water – 1½ cups, warm
In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey. Allow the yeast to fully dissolve, about 5 minutes.
Add flour, salt and herbs de Provence. Stir until blended; the dough will be very sticky. Cover the dough with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 12 to 14 hours.
Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, quickly fold the dough onto itself twice then shape the dough into a ball.
Line the same bowl with large pieces of parchment paper and evenly sprinkle with flour. Place the dough, seam side down, into the bowl and dust with more flower. Cover the bowl with a clean cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more that doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Next, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a cast iron pot with lid in the preheated over for at lease 30 minutes while the dough is rising. The pot should be at least 2-¾ quart sized.
To prepare the dough after the second rise, remove the cotton towel and drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper.
Carefully remove the pot from the oven and rest on a heat-resistant surface. Lift the ends of the parchment paper from the bowl and place into the hot pot.
Cover the pot with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Then, uncover and continue baking until the loaf is crusty and nicely browned (about 15-25 minutes more). Keep your eye on the bread at this point as it can burn easily.
Finally, remove the pan from the oven and place the loaf on a wire rack to cool completely.