Spring Vegetable Tartine

Tartine, or French open-faced sandwiches, are some of the most beautiful bites around.  I often make traditional tea sandwiches with fillings like veggie cream cheese in between 2 slices of soft bread, but after a trip to the market this weekend I was inspired to show off some of this season’s freshest bounty with these Spring Vegetable Tartine.

While piling bunches of bright hot pink radishes into my cart, some very beautiful little quail eggs caught my eye.  I never tried quail eggs before, so I was intrigued.  I wondered if their speckled coloring might mean that they were strange or unpleasant tasting.  Sure enough, after some experimentation at home both frying one egg sunny side up and boiling another, I realized that quail eggs taste the same as regular eggs do, perhaps even milder. They are basically the cuter, miniaturized version of regular eggs!

Quail eggs are beautifully and naturally blemished.  Their rustic appeal makes them look almost ornamental, perfect for making spring decorations and centerpieces.  They make me think of pastel colored birds, twiggy nests, and sweet ambient chirping…all of the lovely indications that spring has sprung!

If you are wanting to make egg salad or scrambled eggs, don’t waste your extra pennies on quail eggs.  You want to use these when you are trying to showcase the egg’s delicate flavor and petit size.

I hard-boiled and halved my quail eggs so that I could use them as the main embellishment for my tartine.  Just a bit of simple protein to balance out all the fresh, clean veggie flavors in the sandwiches.  Sprinkle the cut egg with a bit of bright red cayenne pepper or smoked paprika for an extra pop of color and flavor.

These tartine are ideal for Easter Sunday Brunch or a spring-themed afternoon tea. Although they are delicious served without bacon for vegetarians, a light scattering of the savory bits helps to balance out the sweet ricotta and carrots.  Crunchy, creamy, salty, and sweet, these sandwiches allow the best of springtime ingredients to shine.

Tartine can be eaten with your hands like you would a topped cracker, or with a fork and knife.  If your guests prefer the latter, serve them with some Springtime Carrot Cutlery, which make a simple and colorful addition to an Easter-themed table.  Either way, I’m sure your guests will find these lovely open-faced sandwiches irresistible!

Spring Vegetable Tartine

Makes about 12- 5″ tartine.

Ingredients:

1- 15 oz container of part-skim ricotta

6 Tbsp grated carrots, blotted with paper towel to remove excess moisture

6 Tbsp finely chopped celery, blotted with paper towel to remove excess moisture

2 green onions finely sliced

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 tsp hot sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 loaf french bread, sliced 1/2″ thick

6 quail eggs

5-6 radishes, very thinly sliced

1 green onion sliced thinly, for garnishing

crumbled bacon bits, for garnishing (about 5 slices, cooked until crisp)

cayenne pepper or smoked paprika

Equipment:

small pot

slotted spoon

small bowl

mixing bowl

toaster

Directions:

1.)  Hard boil the quail eggs.  Place them in a small pot with water to cover by 1″.  Bring the water to full rolling boil and continue to boil for 1 minute.  Turn off heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the warm water.  Place them into a small bowl filled with cold water and set aside to allow eggs to cool completely.

2.)  Mix together ricotta, carrots, celery, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, hot sauce, sugar, black pepper, and salt.

3.)  Peel the cooled eggs.  This is easier when done under water.  Cut the eggs in half using a sharp knife.

4.)  Toast the bread slices, then top each slice with about 2 Tbsp of the veggie ricotta mixture.  Place thinly sliced radishes, sliced green onion, and bacon bits atop the ricotta tartine.  Top each tartine off with a hard-boiled egg half, then sprinkle it with a pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika to finish.  Happy Spring!  Enjoy!

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