Vibrant colors, simple ingredients, endless possibilities, and a way to eat our way through a farm share that often pushes the boundaries of what we know about eating certain types of vegetables led us to experimenting with the concept of the French tartine - little more than a fancy word for an open-faced sandwich. Made chic by the French, a culture that knows more than just a bit about turning ordinary food into everyday extraordinary cuisine, the tartine, much like a Paris runway fashion, can be colorful, whimsical, custom-made, season changing, and experimental. Tartines, it turns out, have the potential to turn humble vegetables into garden-to-table couture. Kohlrabi, the dense monster head of the cabbage family that sometimes arrives purple and sometimes green, is one such vegetable that spent its first few deliveries as a curiosity that ended up as chicken food before it was bravely sliced mandolin thin and placed a top a slice of ricotta slathered bread. Its apple like crunch and slightly spicy taste make it far too fabulous to let poultry peck it away. The tartine answers the question of what to do with a plethora of carrots, radishes, broccoli rabe, kale, pea shoots, beets, turnips, or any other boring-when-mama-cooked-it back in the day veg. The tartine requires very little cooking, and in fact, can be made with no cooking at all. All it takes to get the party started is to dress up some bread with a variety of veg. Simply big pot blanch (see kitchen notes) a few vegetables and slice them wafer thin, slather a lightly toasted piece of artisanal bread with cultured butter or a spreadable goat or ricotta cheese, and sprinkle with some flakey sea salt. In no time at all, a platter looks like a painter's palette and is most certainly almost (but not quite) too pretty to eat.
cuisine American
difficulty Easy
season Spring & Summer
serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

3 radish 1 yellow beet, small 1 red beet, small 1 carrot 1 zucchini, small 1 handful english peas, fresh or frozen 2 stems broccolini or rabe Zest of a lemon Zest of a lime Cultured butter 4 ounces ricotta or soft goat cheese 1 boule or other artisanal loaf, sliced 1/2 Sea salt flakes Freshly ground black pepper, to taste Fresh mint, thyme, dill, parsley, chives, optional

Directions

  1. Preaheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut several slices of bread into halves (they should be easy to pick up and hold in the hand) and brush with olive oil. Bake until lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. 
  3. Using a handheld mandoline (use a glove to protect your hand!), or with a very sharp paring knife, slice the radish and beets into as thin rounds as possible.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons of the zucchini and carrots.
  5. Use a knife to cut the top flowering parts of the broccolini and the thin parts of their stems into 2" to 3" long pieces in which the stems are whittled to be no more than 1/4" thick.
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn down to a rolling simmer and drop the yellow beets in for 2 minutes. Remove to a large bowl of ice water. Add the zucchini, carrots, and English peas to the simmering water. Blanch for 2 minutes and remove to the ice bath. Lift these vegetables from the bath onto a towel to dry.
  7. Add the broccolini to the simmering pot. Blanch for 2 minutes, and remove to the ice bath. When cool, lift from the bath and leave to dry on a towel.
  8. Finally, add the red beet slices to the pot, blanch for 2 minutes, and remove them to the ice bath. When cool, remove to dry on a paper towel.
  9. Slather the bread with your spread of choice.
  10. Begin topping the tartines with the prepared veg: radishes are awesome with the butter, goat cheese with beets, ricotta with everything but especially peas and mint. Anything goes.
  11. Add the zest to the tops of the veg: lime for the beets and radish, lemon for the peas, zucchini, carrots, and broccolini.
  12. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and if desired a grind of black pepper.
  13. Finish with some tiny fresh herbs. Place the tartines on a pattern and serve immediately.