French Friday’s with Dorie
[I’m doubling up on French Fridays with Dorie this week since I still have many assignments for which I just haven’t had the time to sit down with a plan and share with you. I’m hoping it will be more palatable going forward if I just double up on Friday whenever I have something extra and leave the other week day cleansed and ready for non-Dorie Greenspan favors. (See what I did there?)
So stay away on Fridays if you have had had your fill of French food. Or just stay away altogether, for clearly you don’t know what’s good.]
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There is irony that comes with my complaining about my lack of time while sharing what must be the two most time-unrestricted recipes in Dorie’s book. It is not lost on me. These tartines: Norvegienne & Saint Germaine take no more than a few seconds to prepare. In case the picture above hasn’t made it obvious to you, a tartine is simply an open-faced sandwich rebranded for the French sensibility.
Would you expect anything else from a culture that eleveates scarf tying to a ‘chicer-than-you-ever-will-be’ art form?
Every culture has puts its own stamp on the bread they enjoy and similarly, they put their own name on the meal that comes from putting something on a single slice of it. The Danes call it Smørbrød (probably due to the fact that “a danish” was already taken) while the those in the Low Countries have their Uitsmijter, which is a real production that allows the eater the opportunity to construct their own from an assortment of options.
In the ever practical United States we prefer the simple open-faced sandwich as we usually opt to forgo pretension when given the choice– which is all we can count on from ourselves most of the time, isn’t it? Perhaps this prediliction works in our favor for by doing so we allow for a pleasant surprise when someone French comes along to shows us how their own simple combination can elicit that je ne sais quoin. Stuff on toast worthy of the moniker “tar tine.”
Just like they do with that damned scarf.
So, as long as you have a hunk of bread in the house and a refrigerator with something in it you can be making tartines and proclaim yourself a French cook.
Dorie uses two pages of her book to share two tartines from La Croix Rouge, a busy Paris cafe around the corner from such fashionable boutiques as Sonia Rykiel and Prada. It makes me giggle with condescension to think of the scarf-wearing fashionistas rushing across the street at lunch time to sit outside after overspending on a lunch consisting of a glass of wine and stuff on toast.
Yes, Of course I’m just jealous.
But seriously, if you and I, dear reader, are ever together in Paris at a busy street cafe and I order this for lunch please slap me and remind me how easy it is to make that at home and remind me to order the steak frittes.
Yet, somehow the proprietors of La Croix Rouge have managed to convince the masses that something as simple and timeless as smoked salmon with capers on toast can be a best selling menu item. It is certainly delicious for the combination has been pleasing eaters for centuries — but I suppose if you rebrand it Tartine Norvegienne you can have them standing in line to get in. Can I have a bite of yours?
This is the art of scarf tying.
Tartines Saint Germaine
In the USA we call this a Roast Beef on Rye.
The big lesson this week? Anything and everything can be a tartine. Open the refrigerator door and go nuts. Be sure to present it with European flair and then nibble on it with lots of attitude and soon enough people might be be standing in line at your house waiting to get in. Had I only known!
When I was a child I used to take the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches my mother packed daily for my lunch and split them open before eating them. I’d eat the peanut butter side first, and for dessert I’d eat the jelly side. Each with just hints of the other flavor still attached.Little did I know I was eating tartine le beurre d’arachide with a lovely tartine gelée de raisin for dessert.
If I owned a cafe in Paris I would have been rich!