Suzi's Blog

A Tray of Tartines

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Le Pain Quotidien is a chain of lovely restaurants, European inspired and bread-centric. The new cookbook, thrillingly titled Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook, has favorites from the restaurant but also an abundance of the emblematic tartines that are the Le Pain specialty.

In short, a tartine is a good piece of sourdough bread topped with an inviting array, no spectacular array, of flavors.

For dinner with friends, Suzen scoured this book to find a trio of recipes that would create a complete dinner of multiple, contrasting, yet not competing flavor components. Suzen’s favorite was the first one listed here: Hummus and Curried Cauliflower. I loved the Spicy Shrimp and Avocado. But the Pea, Pancetta and Radish Tartine was a great contribution to round out the night.

Suzen made a double portion of each of these recipes, easily enough for 4 for dinner. Add a dry white wine, perhaps some dried fruit on the side, and you have a feast that cannot be topped. [That’s a food pun, you know: topped? Tartine?].

Never mind.

You probably want to find a copy of the cookbook, itself, and take a journey through the entire bevy of recipes here. There are 40 pages of tartines, but also breads, breakfast ideas, soups, salads, things to share, and desserts to treasure. When you see the picture of the Banana Pastis Pie, you will begin to caramelize the bananas on the spot.

Each recipe comes with a matching full page photograph. These are the perfect food-GPS directions for you to follow, if you wish, or simply be inspired, if you feel a tad creative. This book itself is inspired, but also inspiring. You’ll enjoy reading it, cooking from it, and tasting what are sure to be among your best culinary accomplishments.

 

Hummus and Curried Cauliflower Tartine

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the curried cauliflower:

  • ½ cauliflower, washed, dried and broken into very small florets
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt

For the hummus:

  • 1 ⅔ cups canned chickpeas, drained [reserve the  liquid]
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch of sea salt

To serve:

  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Start by making the curried cauliflower. Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a bowl, toss the cauliflower with spices, thyme leaves and olive oil, mixing well. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until lightly brown on top. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Place all the hummus ingredients into a food processor or use a hand blender to process until smooth. If necessary, use a little of the reserved chickpea liquid to thin the mixture to a smooth puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

To serve, spread the hummus on the bread and top with the curried cauliflower. Sprinkle the scallion on top and drizzle with the olive oil.

Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Tartine

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 10 shrimp, cooked and peeled
  • 2 cherry tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon thinly sliced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion, green part only
  • ½ clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fine chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sea slat
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 avocado, just ripe, peeled and pit removed
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • 1 lime, peeled

Preparation:

Cut the shrimp or prawns into half across their length and then their width if they are very large.

Put the shrimp into a bowl with the tomatoes, jalapeno, scallion, garlic and cilantro. Seaton with salt, then add half the lime juice and mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Mash the avocado flesh with a fork together with the remaining lime juice. Spread the avocado on the bread slices, then top with the shrimp mixture.

Using a sharp knife, segment the lime by cutting away the skin and pith. Place the lime slices on top of the shrimp mixture and serve immediately.

Pea, Pancetta and Radish Tartine

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the pea hummus:

  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas, or frozen petit pois, defrosted
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • Black pepper

To serve:

  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • 4 very thin slices of raw pancetta [very dry] or fired, if preferred
  • 4 radishes, cut into thin slivers
  • 8 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoon shelled fresh peas or frozen petits pois, defrosted

 Preparation:

For the pea hummus, pout the peas, tahini, olive oil, salt and black pepper into a food processer or use a handheld blender to blend into short burst of 10-15 seconds, until you have a smooth puree.

To serve, spread the pea hummus on the bread, then top with the pancetta, radishes, mint and peas.

Source: Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook by Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel

Photo Information: Canon T2i, 18MM Macro lens, F/2.8, 1/80th second, ISO 500.

 

 

Corn, Jalapeno and Goat Cheese Tartine

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There is a new cookbook about to hit the stores: Le Pain Quotidien by Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel. If you know about the Le Pain Quotidien stores [restaurant, bistro, coffee shop all in one], then your curiosity is already stirring. If you never had the pleasure of dining at the long communal table that is emblematic of each Pain Quotidien site, then here is a recipe to stir your imagination.

In a nutshell, a corn cream — accented with lime zest and jalapeno — is spread over bread. Goat cheese is dotted on top, and the concoction is placed under the broiler to let the cheese melt down and mingle with the cream. It’s very satisfying. Personally, I doubled the amount of corn, cut right off the cob. It is a meal unto itself.

Tomorrow I’ll review the book in general, giving you more recipe ideas. Since “pain quotidian” roughly translates to “daily bread” there are a bevy of bread-based recipes. But, as this one shows, you can have magnificent style and a most satisfying meal by topping that bread with some basic treats.

Although this recipe says it serves 2, the recipe can be easily scaled. The bread slices can be cut once they are out of the oven and you can use this as a dandy warm appetizer. Make lots. People are going to gobble it down.

 

Corn, Jalapeño and Goat Cheese Tartine

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the salsa:

  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ½ garlic clove crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one limes

For the tartine:

  • 1 slice smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons cream fraiche
  • ½ garlic clove crushed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
  • Grated rind of ½ lime
  • ½ cup corn, canned or fresh [about ½ cob]
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread, medium thickness, fairly wide
  • 2 ½ ounces of young, soft goat cheese [or feta], sliced
  • Cilantro leaves for decoration, optional

Preparation:

Preheat your oven broiler.

Make the salsa by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing.

In a small saucepan, combine the bacon, crème fraiche, garlic, jalapeno and lime rind with 1 tablespoon of water. Place over low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the corn. Remove from the hat.

Spread the corn cream onto the bread. Divide the goat cheese between the two tartines. Then place them under the broiler for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is just beginning to melt. Removed from the boiler. Serve immediately with the salsa on the side.

If you desire you can dot the tartines with cilantro leaves for color, contrast, and flavor. To make them easier to eat, you can cut each one into 3-4 slices.

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Source: Le Pain Quotidien by Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel