I’m not sure if “tartines” are French, or if they were invented by Americans in a marketing ploy to make things on toast seem fancy and imported. In any case, they are popular here, and come with so many creative ingredients which (unlike French pizza…who puts tuna and corn on pizza?) are always delicious. My favorite flavor combination is the salty sweet conundrum, especially when the sweet comes from fruit. Pinterest might be all about avocado toast right now, but here in France (where avocados aren't quite as abundant as they are in California) I’m thinking more along the lines of pears, figs, fresh cheeses, vinegar and honey; something a bit lighter and sweeter to snack on during a slow Sunday afternoon or before a dinner party.

The determining factor in a good tartine is the bread. Excellent bread is a necessity, in all of life but especially for tartines. And that good bread should always be toasted, unless you want soggy tartines! I started with a small loaf of pain des amis from the Sunday market, and went from there. I’m also lucky enough to live in Paris, where there are cheese mongers (yes, really) selling fresh cheeses at the Sunday market. If you’ve got good cheese and good bread, anything else is just a bonus.

Sunday morning market spoils {clockwise: pain des amis / pâté grand-mère (pork terrine) / figs / fresh goat cheese  / girolle (chanterelle) mushrooms / chocolate truffles}

Sunday morning market spoils {clockwise: pain des amis / pâté grand-mère (pork terrine) / figs / fresh goat cheese / girolle (chanterelle) mushrooms / chocolate truffles}

These are two of the tartine recipes I've been using most lately, mostly based on what looks fresh at the market. Figs are on their way out, though, so you better hurry up and grab some while they're still available. Pears, on the other hand, are just coming into season and will only get better as winter grows. For the fig tartine, I sometimes use prosciutto to add some substance and more salt. The pear tartine is also good with walnuts, or a nut-based bread. The combination of sweet fruit, salty accents, and smooth fresh cheese on top of earthy crunchy bread is heaven.

Fig & Goat Cheese Tartine

  • Good bread (sliced and toasted)
  • Fresh goat cheese (and I mean dripping fresh if you can find it)
  • Figs, sliced
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Prosciutto (optional)

(Do I really need to explain tartine construction? A slice of bread, a swipe of cheese, a couple slices of fig, and a drizzle of balsamic. And you've "cooked" the greatest appetizer known to man.)

Pear & Gorgonzola Tartine

  • Good bread (possibly nut-based, sliced and toasted)
  • Gorgonzola
  • Pears, sliced
  • Honey

Bon appétit & bon week-end!