Start to finish: 35 minutes
Hands on time: 10 minutes
This may sound crazy but I think cooking is actually harder in the summer. In winter, it’s so easy to decide what you want to eat; soups, stews and hearty dishes that warm body and soul. But in the hot, hot summer I still want a nice dinner but I get so bored with grilled burgers, grilled chicken, grilled pork tenderloin… grilled, grilled, grilled. That’s where this little dish comes in. A summer tartine made with with roasted tomatoes (seasonal, check), pesto (seasonal, check), fresh mozzarella (always in season, check) and the best just baked country style loaf of bread you can find.
A tartine is a fancy, Frenchified word for a type of open-faced sandwich. The word is the diminutive of the French word tarte and is pronounced tar-teen. Essentially toasted bread topped with tasty things, tartines make a lovely light supper in summer months when cooking per se is not on my radar.
I love how easy and quick this dinner is to pull together. I’m happy with it just as it is, but to make it a more manly meal, my husband likes a sautéed (or grilled!) chicken breast on top. I don’t mind switching on my oven for a short time this time of year but if you do, go ahead and grill the tomatoes in a grill basket, toast the bread on the grill and then warm it all up to melt the cheese on the grill as well. When so little in life offers options, for this meal you can have it both ways.
Whip up this little tartine and once you get the hang of it go ahead and concoct your own variations using leftovers and bits and pieces of cheese and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. It’s thrifty and a very French thing to do and perfect for an easy, maybe a little crazy summertime dinner.
It’s that easy: The bread should be high quality bread from a local artisan bakery or better grocery bake shop. Look for country style loaves and slice them yourself with a serrated knife. That way the bread stays fresh for a longer period of time. If I’m not going to use the whole loaf in one day (as in this recipe), I slice it all down and then freeze it in a zip lock bag so its good to use another day.
3 Roma tomatoes, quartered and seeded
8 kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt plus more for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices country-style bread, toasted
3 Tbsp pesto, purchased or home-made
4 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 425°F.
On a parchment lined sheet pan combine the tomatoes, olives, garlic, oil, vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper and toss to combine them well. Spread out so that they cook evenly and roast them in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until tender and browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
Spread the toast with the pesto and top it with the cheese. Arrange the tomato mixture evenly over the tops and return the tartines to the oven to heat and melt the cheese, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the tartines to plates and eat with your hands (like my husband) or with a knife and fork (like me).
In the glass: I’m crazy about rosé when the weather is warm. Look for a bottle of Whispering Angel for a lovely light pink, summer quaffer.
In my ears: Help me