There is something especially comforting about spreads. I think it has something to do with the fact that they get spread on bread, the most comforting of all foods. So flavorful and distinct, they are the colorful bedspread tossed over a feathery bread, something bright over something basic but requisite. And, as with a bedspread, the one you grew up with is the one that reminds you of home.
For me, I will always have tapenade and peanut butter—not together, of course (although that might be interesting). Growing up, we always had black olive tapenade in the fridge. Coming home from school, I would find the end of a ficelle and dip it right into the jar. Salty and fruity in the way only olives are, it was the kind of paste that geot stuck in your teeth and fell off the bread. I loved it, and I still do. So much fun and flavor with so little effort.
I spend a lot of time thinking up recipes that will impress, but I sometimes forget what really impresses me: simple, hearty food that feels like home, but still looks and tastes beautiful. That is this tartine. I smother toasted French sourdough with store-bought tapenade, crumble some fresh chèvre cheese on top, and broil it until the cheese softens and just begins to toast. Toss a tender and peppery salad of micro arugula, olive oil, and fleur de sel on top, and you have an incredible, sophisticated, completely easy lunch or dinner (or, if I'm eating, even breakfast).
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.
- 4 slices pain au levain, or other dense, crusty bread
- 8 teaspoons tapenade, divided
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1 cup micro arugula
- 1 scant teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch fleur de sel
Preheat the broiler. Lightly toast the bread. Spread each slice of bread with 2 teaspoons tapenade, covered the entire surface of the bread. Crumble 1 ounce goat cheese all over each slice of bread. Broil for 5 minutes. Toss the micro arugula with olive oil and salt. Cut the tartines in half, and top with micro arugula salad.