I’ve written a bit about Book Larder, the amazing cookbook store where I am lucky enough to work. The shop opened in October and it has been gangbusters ever since. I was hired with the idea that I would teach classes there and coordinate with other teachers around town to bring them in for classes as well. As the months have passed, my job has morphed a bit and my official title is Culinary Director.
What does that mean exactly? The easiest way to explain it is that I get to handle all things food related. I teach classes and I also work as the assistant when we have other teachers or chefs in the kitchen. If we have an author come to town for an appearance, I bake or cook from their books. I do all the shopping for classes and events and any prep that needs to be done. I love it. LOVE IT. Imagine cooking in a lovely kitchen surrounded by 3,000 beautiful cookbooks. And then imagine getting to meet people like Christina Tosi, Alice Medrich, Paula Wolfert, Patricia Wells, Lynn Rosetto Kaspar. Making their food from their books for them. It is crazy-town cool.
A few months ago, we threw a party for Willi Galloway, an amazing gardener and cook. She used to live in Seattle but now calls Portland home. Her book, Grow Cook Eat, is a gorgeous example of how beautiful and delicious fresh garden produce can be. I am about the furthest thing from a gardener, but the book makes me want to get out in the dirt. (Except there are bugs there, right?) We hosted a book release party for her and I was lucky enough to cater the event. Willi chose four recipes from her book and I made enough food to feed an army. Everything was so good, it was basically demolished by the end of the night. I credit Willi’s recipes, not my cooking.
I loved everything I made but my favorite was the the Radish Tartines. You mix a bit of butter with Gruyère cheese (one of my favorite cheeses), a healthy spoonful of mustard, chives, and diced radishes, spread that on a piece of hearty bread, then bake it in the oven until it puffs and browns. Then you top that loveliness with the sautéed radish greens. I love a recipe that uses all parts of a vegetable but I have to admit that, unless I am using über fresh farmers’ market radishes, I opt for mustard greens instead. (I think any other “soft” green would work, including the extremely easy to find spinach.)
Side bar – what is a tartine? Without looking anything up, this is my take. Please be advised I could be totally wrong here. I think of crostini as a thin slice of toasted bread with a topping. I think of bruschetta as a thicker and heartier slice of bread, again – toasted, with a topping. I think of a tartine as more of a open faced sandwich, the bread not toasted before the topping goes on. A little easier to eat, no scraping the roof of your mouth. Anyone else?
I’ve been making these beauties ever since that party and I love them more each time I eat them. I made them for our last yoga retreat and they were at the top of the “Are you going to post this recipe on your blog?” list.
(Yes, this is the same photo as up above. I only got one before they were snatched up!)
One Year Ago: No-Knead Olive Bread
Two Years Ago: Pull Apart Cheesy Onion Bread
Three Years Ago: Individual Vegetable Tarts
Tartines with Gruyère and Greens
Adapted from Grow, Cook, Eat
Makes 6 large tartines
If you make them this way, they are kind of meal size. Terrific with a bowl of pea soup or a hearty salad. If you want more appetizer servings, use smaller slices of bread. The topping can be made a day in advance and refrigerated, but definitely serve these just out of the oven.
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces)
3 tbsp. very soft unsalted butter
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup finely chopped radishes
2 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
Pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper
6 ½-inch thick slices good bread, such as pain de campagne
1 small bunch soft greens, such as mustard greens or spinach
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, use a fork to really mash the butter. Add in the cheese and mix well to combine the two. Add the mustard, radishes, chives, and salt and pepper. Divide the mixture between the bread slices, pressing down slightly. Place the bread on a baking sheet and toast until the cheese puffs up and is lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a skillet over medium heat. Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the greens. Cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the green. Spread the wilted greens on evenly over the cheesy toasts and serve immediately.