10 PM on Sunday... I actually planned to write this post a wee bit earlier but a few things distracted me. Between others this book (had to force myself to put it down) and helping Daniela make a double batch of baci di dama for the local Frauenzentrum, for tomorrow, Women's day, I got a bit carried away. But the biscuits are ready now, and I've managed to make a reading pause so here we are.
I had a bit more problems than I thought coming up with a tartine idea. Or better: I got many "beginnings" of an idea but had trouble turning them into practice. I wanted to give my tartine an Italian twist. I first thought about something regional (like a tartine with Tuscan ingredients) but it all got mixed up and I ended up with four possible tartines, all with a definite Italian twist. I couldn't really decide which one to make so at the end I made all of them and after tasting me and Daniela chose a "winner". The one which tasted and looked nicer was a Tartine Meridionale or a Southern Italian themed tartine.
I was a bit lazy and didn't prepare the bread myself. Instead I bought two sorts from my favourite baker: a sourdough and a semolina bread. For the tartine meridionale I started lightly grilling a slice of sourdough on my grill pan and scrubbing a tiny bit of garlic on the surface of the bread. This got topped by some grilled scamorza. I grilled the scamorza till both sides showed a nice crunchy brown crust. My first try grilling scamorza was a disaster, cheese spreading from pan to bread in very long threads. I had forgotten a basic trick to grill this cheese. Before lifting it from the grill pan one should wait about a minute off the fire so the cheese keeps together (because the crust is now mice and crunchy) while the "core" keeps nicely gooey. On top of the scamorza came sun dried tomatoes and then sliced lampascioni, a sort of bitter wild onion traditionally eaten in Apulia, sometimes, as in this case, cooked in vinegar, grilled and stored in EVOO. The ingredient worked very well together crating a multi-layered taste: the creamy and smoky scamorza, the sweet earthy note of the sun-dried tomatoes and the bitter vinegary lampascioni. At first I thought the "mix" might not work but instead everything balanced off. And because of the "sunny" flavours I couldn't help but name this tartine "meridionale"
Just a quick note about the other tartines I tried. The first one (at the top, above) was a simple Salami tartine. Olive butter on semolina bread, salame Milanese slices and a sliced oil-preserved artichoke as topping. Simple and tasty. The second (at the bottom)was actually my great disappointment since I thought it was, in theory, the nicest one. An Alpes tartine, lacking a better name. Sourdough bread, a mixture of butter and mixed mushroom cream smeared on this and topped by Sudtyroler speck and Taleggio. The mushroom cream was way too powerful and just killed every other flavour.
And too finish a somewhat ugly, last minute idea that worked quite well after all. A tartine of aubergine cream, pecorino and honey. Since I had the idea at the last second and was actually quite doubtful the tastes would blend I didn't really make an effort to make this look pretty. Pecorino and honey go great together, but with aubergines? Well, it works. But I think it still needs a bit of thinking to improve it a bit, something is still missing.