Here in Canada we'd call this an open faced sandwich. That really doesn't properly describe it though. A tartine is so much more than a slice of bread with something smeared on top of it. It is a large crusty piece of good bread - toasted and than embellished with any number of different toppings - but the key is that it is toasted and broiled in the oven. And, don't forget the fromage!
|The bar at Ginette et Marcel|
|My homemade tartine|
On our day in Avignon we stumbled upon Ginette et Marcel. Ginette et Marcel is the kind of bistro you imagine when you think of France. It is quirky, colourful, elegant yet casual. It is quintessentially French. If I ever opened an eatery I'd want it to be exactly like this. I loved the old wooden tables, the stemless glasses for wine that you see all over France (cheap there and super expensive here), the bar with all the bottles of French liquors lined up, and the glass case containing the tempting and beautiful pastries. I was somewhat surprised when I fist saw the menu and realized that the bulk of the options were "open faced sandwiches". Then I saw the tartines starting to come out from the kitchen and I knew we were in a different land - oh yeah, France of course.
Once back home I kept thinking about the magical tartine. I looked on foodgawker a lot for tartine recipes and found very few. Finally after more than a year I decided to just wing my own tartine - "recipeless". You know - its pretty darn simple. The biggest factor is good bread. Dense, crusty bread - preferably home made. I used Jim Lehey's recipe for no knead bread. First I toasted the bread in the oven for a few minutes and then I loaded it up with mashed squash which I had heated along with some blue stilton and walnuts and voila - tartine.