Open-faced toasts are simple and adaptable

Despite its sophisticated French name, a tartine is simply a thick slice of rustic bread lightly toasted and adorned with whatever sweet and savory ingredients suit your fancy. Served with a lightly dressed green salad, a tartine feels more special than the predictable PB&J but just as quick and easy to prepare.

Fresh and easy · These delicious sandwiches are a treat that require only a little amount of preparation time for a lot of flavor and satisfaction. - Maral Tavitian | Daily Trojan

Fresh and easy · These delicious sandwiches are a treat that require only a little amount of preparation time for a lot of flavor and satisfaction. – Maral Tavitian | Daily Trojan

Since the open-faced toasts should be enjoyed with a fork and knife, they accommodate toppings that would otherwise slide out of a sandwich, such as toasted nuts and seeds. Because of the dish’s simplicity, it is important to use a quality loaf of rustic bread. While artisanal varieties will cost you a few dollars more than their mass-produced counterparts, they make up for the expense in superior flavor and texture.

I have shared a few suggestions to get you inspired, but the best way to develop creative recipes is to use seasonal ingredients. Dedicate a few minutes out of your Wednesday to peruse the Trojan Farmers Market, admiring the vibrant displays of fresh produce and sampling liberally. Pick up whichever vegetables look best and roast them using my step-by-step guide.

Roasting Vegetables Right

Roasted vegetables are incredibly versatile and convenient to have on-hand. All you need is a splash of olive oil, a generous sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs to achieve wonderful flavor and texture. While the method is quite simple, even experienced cooks fall privy to common mistakes. Follow the instructions below to achieve perfectly crisp yet tender vegetables every time.

1) Cut vegetables into equal sizes. Vegetables that are uniform in size will cook evenly. With petite vegetables such as baby carrots and button mushrooms, feel free to roast them whole.

2) Don’t overcrowd the pan. Giving your vegetables room to breath allows them to crisp up evenly.

3) Go easy on the oil. You want just enough olive oil to create a glossy, even coating. Too much and you will end up with a greasy final product.

4) Season well. For optimum flavor, be generous with salt and pepper.

5) Turn up the heat. One of the most common mistakes people make is to roast vegetables on low heat for a long time. Cranking up your oven is the difference between caramelized, golden brown edges and a mushy mess.

Cinnamon-Roasted Butternut Squash

Test your newfound roasting skills using this delicately spiced butternut squash recipe. The caramelized, slightly sweet morsels are heavenly on their own, but even better when incorporated into a tartine with creamy ricotta cheese and toasted pepitas.

• 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 3 sage leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried herb of choice

• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Active: 5 min; Total: 30 min. Serves four.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss squash with olive oil, sage, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a wide rimmed baking sheet, making sure that all the cubes are evenly coated. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time, until the squash are browned and tender.

Roasted vegetables can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to four days.

Tartine with White Bean Smash and Tomatoes

• One 15-ounce can white beans, drained

• 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

• 2 basil leaves, sliced in ribbons

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• Pinch of red pepper flakes

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

• 4 large 1/2-inch-thick slices rustic bread, toasted

• 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise

• Sea salt, for sprinkling


Total: 10 min. Serves two.

1. Place white beans, feta and basil in a medium bowl and smash them with a fork until a chunky paste forms. Mix in lemon juice, oil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.

2. To assemble tartine, spread about two tablespoons of white bean smash on each slice of bread. Top with a few cherry tomato halves and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve.

Tartine with Goat Cheese and Sautéed Mushrooms and Kale 

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 tablespoon minced shallots (from half of a medium shallot)

• 2 cups (8 ounces) stemmed and thinly sliced button mushrooms

• 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced kale

• 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

• 2 tablespoons milk

• Salt and pepper, to taste

• 4 large 1/2-inch-thick slices rustic bread, toasted

• 4 tablespoons goat cheese, divided


Total: 15 min. Serves two.

1. Warm olive oil in a medium sauté pan set over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about one minute. Add mushrooms and thyme, season with generous pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring just once or twice, until dark brown and tender, about four to five minutes. Mix in kale and cook until soft and wilted, about two minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add milk and simmer until the mushrooms and kale have absorbed most of the milk.

2. To assemble tartine, spread one tablespoon of goat cheese on each  slice of bread. Top with about 1/4 cup mushrooms and kale. Serve.


Maral Tavitian is a sophomore majoring in print and digital journalism. Her column, “The Epicurean Dorm,” runs Tuesdays.