I am a fan of tartine, French open-faced sandwich. I love the daintiness. I love the colourful presentation. I love the lightness. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed when I saw the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Dieter’s Tartine in Around My French Table. Tomato, cucumber, chives, herbes de Provence, and non-fat fromage blanc pile on a piece of bread? It certainly sounds light but also boring. Knowing a thing or two about dieting, I crave that bright vibrant flavour often missing from diet-friendly dishes. No way could I bring myself to follow Greenspan’s recipe even for the sake of French Fridays with Dorie.
When I looked at the list of ingredients, I immediately thought of Italian bread salad panzanella. Once I swapped out the fromage blanc with a light drizzle of fruity olive oil, I had the makings of an intensely flavoured summer dish. Still diet-friendly, mind you, but so much more interesting. Plus I could use so much more vegetable in proportion to bread. Not a bad adaptation at all.
Coincidentally, this is not the first time I create a panzanella from inspiration in Around My French Table. The last time was one created with tomates confits garnished with a crispy prosciutto chip. By comparison, this version is very restrained and highly depends on the quality of ripe tomatoes and cucumbers. I would say this is a panzanella for summer when produce is plentiful and my last attempt is more suitable for winter. In both cases, the salad is filling and perfectly suitable to serve as main course.
If you want to find out how the original tartine recipe fares among other bloggers, check it out here.
serves 2 as main course
inspired by Dorie Greenspan's Dieter's Tartine
- 1 half size stick of olive ciabatta
- 3 medium size very flavourful tomato, diced to 3/4 inch pieces
- 2 mini cucumber, cut to bite size half moons
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- flaky sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- good quality olive oil
- The night before, tear ciabatta into bite size pieces. Leave on cooling rack to dry out overnight.
- When you’re ready to make the salad, toss together stale bread, tomato, cucumber, and shallot in a large mixing bowl. Season with herbes de Provence, sea salt, and black pepper. Drizzle judiciously with olive oil. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- While the salad sits, the juice exuded by the vegetable would get absorbed by stale bread. That’s where the magic happens. When you’re ready to serve, toss in torn basil leaves and adjust seasoning.