There’s this adorable French bistro in Austin called Blue Dahlia, and I love to meet friends there for a late lunch or a glass of wine to sample a couple of their tartines. Since this month is all about getting outside and soaking up the spring sunshine, we’ve had picnics on the brain: which foods are best for packing up and taking on-the-go? How fun would it be to setup a “build-your-own tartines” station at the park, and let your friends build all their favorite ingredients for their own customized open-faced creations? I put together three of my favorite combinations at our studio (shot by Kim Jones) as inspiration to get you started — but these are really just jumping off points for your own creativity! I’d advise packing up all the spreads and toppings in their own mason jars since they can be tightly sealed, and the bread can be grilled in advance and then sealed in a zip-top bag for transport. Keep reading for the recipes…
This one is BLT-inspired! Basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, crumbled bacon and arugula.
The Base: Perfect Grilled Bread
- 1 loaf of rustic country bread (avoid bread that has too many “holes” in it.)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- extra-virgin olive oil
- maldon salt or fleur de sel
- Slice bread thinly on the bias.
- Heat grill or indoor grill pan to high heat. Brush each side of bread slices with extra virgin olive oil, then grill until lightly charred, about 1 minute per side.
- Cut garlic clove in half, and rub cut side on one side of each grilled bread slice. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then proceed with toppings.
The Toppings (3 of my favorite combos)
- Thinly slice a firm but ripe avocado, and place on one piece of grilled bread (you can also mash and spread the avocado if you want it creamier.) Sprinkle a generous dose of red pepper flakes, then top with a little lemon zest, sea salt, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Mash cooked white beans with 1/2 clove of minced garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Spread onto 1 piece of grilled bread, and fan thinly-sliced radishes over the top. Sprinkle with a generous dose of sea salt and minced flat leaf parsley.
- Spread a layer of homemade or store-bought basil pesto on one piece of grilled bread. Top with halved cherry tomatoes, crumbled cooked bacon, a few leaves of arugula and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
*photos by Kim Jones