We all follow certain unspoken rules: like holding the door open for the person directly behind you; or, the more discreet rule, wherein most folks with good sense have agreed not to validate Carrot Top and the majority of his life choices. And then there are the rules more specific to particular demographics, such as not serving white wine with waffles nor wearing closed-toed shoes after Memorial Day. For the sake of clarity, I ignore the former and follow the latter. To a toe-shaped tee. In this household, Micah’s created the inexplicable rule of not eating sandwiches for dinner. As a person who can—not only eat sandwiches at any time of day, let alone eat them literally at every sanctioned meal—I honestly don’t get it. His standards, however, have influenced all of us, and I applaud him as soon as my hands are free of all the sandwiches I’ve recently shoved into my mouth.
For months, we stood on separate sides of the issue until I recently explored the wild and magnificent world of the tartine. A tartine, for the uninformed, is a French open-faced sandwich. One definition insists that it should feature a rich and fancy spread. I love that. Who wouldn’t want to eat something with a rich and fancy spread?
Well, in my constant desire to eat bread at every meal, I discovered and started experimenting with the tartine. What’s truly beautiful about the base idea is that it can actually lend itself to any idea one wants. Empty out leftovers onto this bread, top it with some cheese, and—voila—you have a tartine. That steak sandwich we blogged months ago? Yes, we made it into a tartine, and, honestly, it might have even been better that way. Tartines embody this moment in the toast craze, and I can’t honestly think of what I’d enjoy more for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
This particular recipe augments my love of caprese salads—instead of raw tomatoes, I roast the grape babies to bring out the sweetness and complement the balsamic glaze. Nearly any time a recipe involves the words “balsamic glaze,” I find that the contents therein send me over top in the best way possible. The sundried tomato tapenade can be made well in advance, cementing this as an even easier recipe with which to break the rules.
And you know we break all the rules when we get together—
- 1 loaf of crusty Italian bread/French bread
- Sliced grilled chicken (see below)
- 1 cup roasted grape tomatoes (see below)
- Sundried tomato spread (see below)
- 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- Balsamic Reduction (see below)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- While the oven heats, slice the bread lengthwise in half and place on a cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil.
- Place the bread in the oven for 8 minutes, or until lightly crisped but not brown on top. Remove the bread from the oven, and spread as much of the sundried tomato spread as you like over both pieces of bread. Top with mozzarella cheese evenly and return to the oven until the cheese has melted.
- Pull the bread out of the oven, and top it evenly with the chicken. If the chicken is cold, return to the oven for another few minutes until warmed through. If warmed though, top with the roasted tomatoes and arugula. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction and slice into pieces of desired size. Serve immediately.
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of evoo
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
- Whisk all five first ingredients in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Marinate for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
- Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Slice into 1 inch slices and set aside.
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons Evoo
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, toss the tomatoes with evoo and salt and pepper.
- Roast the tomatoes until slightly blistered. Remove from oven and set aside.
- 1 cup of sundried tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 cup/bunch fresh Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- In a food processor, place all the ingredients in except the olive oil. Pulse a few times to ensure they have been incorporated. Add the evoo and pulse until desired consistency. If you prefer a denser consistency, pules for 10 seconds; otherwise, pulse for half a minute for a smooth spread.
- Keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
- 1-cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup honey
- In a small saucepan, add the vinegar and honey and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat once it comes to a boil, simmer for 30 minutes, or until mixture has reduced by half. Remove from heat and let cool. Mixture will thicken as it cools.
- Keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.