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Goat Cheese and Strawberry Tartine

(recipe, Dorie Greenspan)


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Introduction

This tartine almost created itself one Sunday morning on my return from the boulevard Raspail market. When I set my flimsy market bag on the counter, it toppled over — it was the baguette's fault — and out tipped the soft goat cheese from Phillipe Gregoire's stand and a brown paper bag of strawberries so ripe their aroma had made me dizzy all the way home. The bread, cheese, and berries looked so beautiful strewn across my counter that I put them together immediately. And the combination was so good that I used it at dinner the following night, topping the tartine with a few drops of syrupy aged balsamic — truly unnecessary and truly good. While most tartines are made on large slices of country bread, I think this one is best on a slice of baguette about 1/3 inch thick (think crostini). And while other tartines make good afternoon snacks, I think this one is best served later in the day with a glass of wine. I've given instructions for making 12 cocktail-sized tartines, but since this is more an idea than a formal recipe, feel free to use more or less cheese or strawberries, to change the bread — thinly sliced pumpernickel would be great, but it's not a bread that's easily found in Paris — to use or not use the balsamic, or even to swap the berries for cherries or figs, fresh or dried, depending on the season.

Ingredients

  1. 12 slices baguette, each about ⅓ inch thick
  2. About ¾ cup soft, spreadable goat cheese
  3. About 16 ripe strawberries, hulled and cut in half
  4. Coarsely ground or crushed black pepper
  5. Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Steps

  1. The first day I made this tartine, I just cut slices off the baguette and used them fresh, and you can do the same, or you can treat the baguette as you do for other tartines and grill or toast just one side of it. If you warm the bread, let it cool a bit so that the heat won't melt the cheese.
  2. Spread the goat cheese over the bread and top each tartine with a few berry halves. Sprinkle with black pepper and finish with a couple of drops of balsamic vinegar, if you'd like.
  3. These should be made as close to serving time as possible.

Note

I like this tartine with a chilled white wine, preferably one from the Loire Valley, where chenin blanc is the reigning grape and goat the roi of cheeses. But if you end up using cherries or dried fruits, you might want to pour red wine. In fact, topped with dried fruit, these tartines would make a nice addition to a cheese platter served before dessert.