Tartine is one of those many French words that sounds beautiful when said by a native speaker, but is rather difficult to get out when you’re someone trying to learn the language. The particular combination of vowels and consonants with that French “r” right in the middle gets stuck in the roof of your mouth a bit like a spoonful of peanut butter. You had best learn to say it, however, if you plan on eating breakfast anywhere in that lovely country (unless you’re having a croissant, the pronunciation of which people seem to struggle with just as much anyway). Traditionally, a tartine is simply an open faced piece of baguette, most often smeared with butter and jam. This is what I had for breakfast every single sparkling Parisian morning (because it turns out that Paris sparkles, even when it’s gray and drizzly) while I studied there back in college. Two baguette halves with copious amounts of butter and confiture de framboises, dipped in my coffee. And then I would be ravenously hungry again within about half an hour. Scandinavians are bred to require protein at breakfast. Oh well.
Even though they never filled me up, I loved tartines. And even more so on the day I realized, “what the heck?! Why not have an open faced baguette sandwich with something more than just jam?” (I know, so revelatory, right?) Much deliciousness ensued.
I like to think of this particular creation as what would happen if an eggplant Parmesan sub studied abroad in France, got a little comfy, and eventually became an expat there. It has an affected French accent and attempts an air of sophistication, but in the end it can’t help but be overflowing with gooey, bubbling melted mozzarella. “Deep fry zee eggplant?! Mais non! I couldn’t possiblee. I vil roast eet wiz some peppers and tomatoes, maybe add a leetle chevre and Dijon. But somesing eez meesing…Oh yes, mozzarella! Sweet! I’m so gonna melt that all over the place…Nice.”
If you like savory breakfasts, leftovers of these tartines are quite excellent in that department – kind of like cold pizza. And, I’ll bet you won’t be hungry within the half hour (plus, think of those extra vegetable servings you’re working in! Genius.)
Roasted Vegetable Tartines (serves 2 with leftovers, or about 3-4)
1 good quality baguette
1 small-medium eggplant
1-2 bell peppers
1-2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
dried (or fresh) oregano
salt and pepper
around 4 oz. of chevre (goat cheese) warmed to room temp so it is soft
a handful of basil leaves
a few cups grated mozzarella
Heat the oven to 425F. Wash and dice the eggplant and the red pepper. Toss the eggplant, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes with a couple splashes of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and oregano. Spread out onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and getting dark brown spots on them (I’d guess this takes around a half hour, I didn’t keep track of time). Meanwhile, cut the baguette into 3 or 4 equal length chunks, then slice each of these chunks in half lengthwise so you have open faced bread pieces. Spread each piece of bread with just a little bit of Dijon, then spread or sprinkle with the chevre. Place a couple of basil leaves on top of the cheese on each piece of bread. Place all of the pieces of bread into a baking pan. Pile the roasted vegetables onto the pieces of bread, then sprinkle generously with the grated mozzarella. Put the tartines into the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbling, around 15 minutes. Enjoy!