Thursday, July 5, 2012

Recipe: Summer Peach and Blackberry Tartines

Summer Peach and Blackberry Tartines with Gorgonzola Dolce, Ricotta and Prosciutto.

Summer is my favorite time of the year in the kitchen.  With so many fruit and vegetables at their prime, cooking is really enjoyable- the possibilities are endless.  The whole concept of cooking seasonally appeals to me both at home and at work. I have been trying to purchase all the produce I use for my catering business, Gourmet Girls, at the local farmer's market.  Purchasing from a wholesale purveyor just really did not work for me.  I was entirely too picky about the way my produce looked and found the only way to truly get every single tomato, apple or head of lettuce to look the way I wanted it to was to hand pick it myself.   I enjoy starting my day by going to the market, seeing what is available and planning my menus from there.  One of the services I provide at Gourmet Girls is dinners for take-out.   I'm lucky enough to have a group of clients who pretty much let me make whatever I choose.  This brings seasonal cooking to a whole new level- whatever I select the mornings I go to the market ends up on their dinner plate.  Peaches are at the peak of their season in South Louisiana right now, and this weekend I am the guest chef at Redstick Farmer's Market - peaches are what's on the menu.

I am making a dessert, Tres Leches cake with peaches which is then topped with billowy meringue for the farmer's market demonstration.  I also wanted to make a savory dish with peaches, and since tartines are a favorite of mine, I came up with a few ideas.  I used ricotta and gorgonzola dolce as the spread, layered with prosciutto or serrano ham, a little honey drizzle, freshly cracked black pepper, fresh thyme and basil and topped with ripe blackberries and peaches.  Last week I made them with fresh figs, goat cheese, lemon thyme and drizzled them with a balsamic vinegar reduction- delicious! Below I've listed a few ideas for inspiration, I hope you enjoy the tartines as much as I do.

Prepare the bread by baking or grilling semi-thin slices of bread drizzled with a little olive or walnut oil.  I love using a boule for large tartines and a baguette for smaller bite size tartines. The large ones are best served on a plate with a fork and knife, while tartines made with a French baguette are the perfect bite size food for your next cocktail party.

I seasonally change the tartine toppings. Right now peaches, cherries, figs and berries are perfect.  When I make peach tartines at work and they won't be served for a while after preparing them, I soak the peach slices in a little lemon juice.  The lemon juice keeps the peaches from discoloring and turning brown.

For the spread, I've used goat cheese, ricotta, gorgonzola dulce, farmhouse cheddar, Brillat Savarin, Camembert, and brie or any triple creme cheese.

Drizzle with honey, champagne vinegar, or a balsamic vinegar reduction.

I love using fresh herbs and try to match those to the fruit.  My favorites right now are lemon thyme, French thyme, basil and rosemary. Lavender blossoms make a great pairing with cherries also.

I season the tartines with freshly cracked black pepper and sometimes sea salt if I think it will enhance the flavors.


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