Summer Tartines

summer tarine header

If I am truthful, dear readers, this week’s post has been causing me some disquiet. (As far as food blogs are allowed to cause disquiet.)

It’s the beginning of August. Summer squash, tomatoes, corn, blueberries, and peaches are all abundant. I know this, because I have been buying and eating them in abundance.

Mostly, I prepare them in the simplest manner possible. Chopped tomatoes and corn make an excellent salad, flecked with red onion, garlic and jalapeño slivers, zipped with a touch of olive oil and red wine vinegar. Peaches need only to be sliced, added to a bowl of blueberries, and topped with maple syrup-laced yogurt. I like to add crushed Marcona almonds for crunch. Any kind of summer squash can be simmered with tomatoes, garlic, onion and eggplant to make a ratatouille that you’ll happily re-heat all week. Toss in some thyme, basil, or a bay leaf, if you happen to have them.

But I feel like you all deserve something more complex than the above, and so I have been wracking my brains for a presentation that’s both intriguing, and original (as far as that is possible). I thought briefly about trying my hand at pizza, a pizza strewn with peaches, but then I considered the heat of a 500F oven, and quickly desisted. Next I entertained the idea of pasta, of some handmade ravioli perhaps, plush with thyme and locks of summer squash. But without a pasta press..visions of me, frustrated and covered with flour, flitted through my mind.

So you must forgive me, dear readers. I am choosing, instead, to embrace simplicity. There will be no hot hours passed in my kitchen this week. Instead, I will share something that will take both of us just twenty minutes to cobble together, leaving ample time for a walk, or beverages on a terrace.

These tartines require very little actual cooking. The work is mostly assembly. They are also easily modified: feel free to switch out the zucchini and peaches for whatever fruit or vegetable looks best to you. One of each should sustain you for lunch, but if you’re having them for dinner, serve with a salad of your choosing.

You might also make a batch of these tartines for a summer gathering: simply cut each toast into matchsticks, and you have instant finger food.

Zucchini Tartine

Makes 2 tartines

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced or finely sliced
  • 1/2 a white onion, minced or finely sliced
  • 1 small summer squash
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • sea salt, black pepper
  • 2 center slices from a round loaf of bread
  • 2-4 tablespoons soft goat cheese
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-4 slices serrano ham or prosciutto
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, crushed


1. Heat the olive oil in a wide pan, over medium heat. Mince the garlic, and add it to the pan.

head of garlic

2. Slice or mince the shallot and the 1/2 onion. (I like to make very thin slices using my mandolin, but it’s really about personal preference. If you mince the shallot and the onion, they will likely disappear into the zucchini. Slices are more substantial.)

3. When the oil is gently simmering, and the garlic is fragrant, add the shallots and the onion. (It’s ok if you aren’t finished slicing or mincing; you can add as you go.) Give the garlic, shallot and onion a stir, so that the oil is distributed evenly. Let everything cook down, until soft and translucent, for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, slice up your zucchini, or whatever summer squash you’re using. (A small one should serve two people.) Again, I like to make impossibly thin slices using my mandolin, but feel free to make thicker slices with a knife. You could also cut the zucchini into 1/2″ coins, and then cut each coin into quarters. Do whatever is easiest for you. The only requirement is to cut uniform-ish pieces. Quarter the grape tomatoes.

yellow grape tomato quarters

5. When the onion is soft, add the zucchini and the tomatoes to the pan; stir to coat the zucchini and tomatoes in the pan juices. (If the vegetables look too dry, you can add a small pour of water.) Cook for 7-10 minutes, until the zucchini is somewhere between soft and ‘confit’. (It’s your personal preference, taste as you go.) Add salt and pepper, to taste.

sauteed shallots, onion, zucchini, and grape tomatoes

6. Now is a good time to put your bread in the toaster. I use an onion rye bread, but use what you have/like.

7. With your fingers, pull the leaves off of 2 thyme sprigs. Add them to a small bowl, and then spoon in the goat cheese. Gently mix the herbs into the cheese.

goat cheese and thyme

8. When the toast comes out of the toaster, give it about a minute to cool off slightly. (Otherwise, the goat cheese will melt.) If you want to crush your red pepper flakes more finely, do this now.

9. Assemble the tartines: spread each slice generously with the thyme-goat cheese. Next, add a slice or two of ham. After that, pile on the sauteed zucchini. Finish with a light tap of red pepper flakes. You can eat the tartines with your hands, with a knife and fork, or cut them into matchsticks.

zucchini tartine

zucchini tartine, matchsticks

Peach Tartine

Makes 2 tartines

  • 2 center slices from a round loaf of bread
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided
  • 2 small peaches, or 1 large peach
  • 2 tablespoons Marcona almonds


1. Toast the bread. You can really use whatever you like: a wheat, nut or raisin bread puts you in breakfast territory. Challah or brioche would make this more of a dessert.

2. In the meantime, wash and dry the peach(es). Cut them into slices.

3. In a little bowl, add the slightly softened butter with 1/2 tablespoon of the maple syrup. Stir them together, but don’t totally blend them.

salted butter and maple syrup

4. Crush the Marcona almonds. (I do so by scattering the almonds on a cutting board, and pressing them with the heel of a mug or glass.)

crushed Marcona almonds

5. When the toast is golden and still warm, spread each slice with the maple butter. Next, layer on the peaches. Scatter each toast with the crushed Marcona almonds. Finish by drizzling each tartine with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of maple syrup.

peach tartine

summer tartines final

Leave a comment