When It’s Too Hot To Cook: Summer Tartines

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It’s too hot for cooking. Plus, the Frenchman is away on business in Atlanta (which, somehow, is cooler and less humid than New York, go figure), so I don’t feel like making a big fuss. Dinner the past few nights has consisted of various salads spooned onto toast, usually with a bit of cheese, sometimes with a runny egg.

It’s handy to keep a running arsenal of these minimally cooked, stuff-on-toast ideas for the very middle of summer, when produce is outstanding, but the idea of turning on your oven is more than you can handle right now, do you have any idea how sweltering a NYC train platform is, seriously how long do I have to wait for this stupid train to arrive, thank you very much.

These “recipes” are largely interchangeable–use the bread, cheese, and herbs you prefer. Use whatever fruit or vegetables look best at the market. When you have excellent summer ingredients on hand, it’s sort of hard to screw it up.

The salads below benefit from a little resting time; this makes them superb candidates for leftovers (thrown over pasta, stirred into scrambled eggs, as dressing for shrimp or flank steak, etc.). Pack a picnic, or a non-depressing office lunch. Either way, fresh fruits and vegetables are the stars of the show here. I hope these tartines keep you cool and satisfied throughout the summer!

A note on the cherries and the peaches: Ok, fine, I did technically turn on the oven for these beauties. But they were starting to turn, and I knew the oven could save them.

White Bean, Corn, and Herb Tartine with Mozzarella:

Toss your favorite white beans with fresh market corn, boiled for just 1-2 minutes, and then cut from the cob. Stir in some minced chives and torn basil, or whichever fresh herbs you like. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Splash on some white wine vinegar and olive oil. Finish with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Optional additions: roasted zucchini, grilled eggplant, quartered cherry tomatoes, or hot sauce.

Pile this salad on top of toasted bread (I like sourdough, sliced thin). Dot with mozzarella. Devour.

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This is one of my favorite summer salads. I serve it with everything: on top of chicken or steak, with tortilla chips, with fried eggs; the list goes on and on.

Tomato, Cucumber, and Herb Tartine with Chèvre:

Dice some tomato and cucumber. Toss the vegetables with sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar, fresh chopped herbs, olive oil, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper. Optional additions: shallots, scallions, avocado, or hot sauce.

Smear a slice of toasted bread (I like sourdough) with chèvre, or your favorite spreadable cheese. Pile this salad on top. Nosh.

tomato and cucumber saladtomato, cucumber, and chèvre tartine tomato, cucumber, and chèvre tartine tomato, cucumber, and chèvre tartine

Roasted Cherry and Peach Tartine with Whipped Ricotta: 

Toss whole cherries and peach slices with a bit of olive oil, just a pinch of kosher salt and turbinado sugar, and a few cracks of black pepper. Roast them together for 30 minutes in a 375F oven, until the fruit is shrunken and flavor-concentrated. Allow the fruit to cool slightly.

Spoon a pool of whipped ricotta onto a slice of toasted bread (I like sourdough). (How do you make whipped ricotta? I used a whisk to blend 4 parts fresh ricotta with 1 part milk. Easy! If you’re making a large batch, a food processor is handy.) Scatter the toast with roasty cherries (watch out for the pits!) and peach slices. Tuck in.

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8 Comments

  1. Lynne

    These look really yummy. I like the fruit and the one with the cheese.

  2. Stephanie

    THIS IS GENIUS! I would never think to throw lots of fun yummy ingredients on a piece of toast. LOVE LOVE LOVE

  3. Jessie

    These look totally gorgeous and, you’re right, a completely non-boring office lunch situation.

    What is your preferred type of whole grain bread? I too am a sourdough lover but in my quest to incorporate more whole grains I often end up with a dense, heavy bread that just isn’t as lovely as a crusty, open-crumbed sourdough. Thoughts?

    • CristinaSciarra

      Thanks, Jessie! I’m not a big bread baker myself; I’m spoiled living in NYC, with easy access to great bakeries! I sometimes buy wheat sourdough from a NY-based company called Bread Alone; perhaps you can find this combination where you live, too? Otherwise, I just stick to the multi-grain, seeded bread from my local bakery. Good luck!

  4. Caroline

    These are fantastic! Just beautiful!!

  5. Foodsworth

    I really need to stop looking at these yummy blogs while on my juice cleanse…

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