Though I’ve experienced the simple yet unforgettable delight of a tartine before (defined as a fancy French open-faced sandwich topped with spreadable ingredients and pronounced tartEn), I’ve never tasted so many as during a recent family trip to California where we visited some of the best restaurants in Los Angeles (The Larchmont) and Santa Monica (Fork In The Road). Tartines of all kinds were served for every meal and they ranged from simple to over-the-top impressive where the bread was barely visible thanks to all the elaborate toppings. Now I am hooked and can’t wait to experiment with my own tartine recipes and share them with you.
One memorable meal was breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien in Westwood Village. After falling in love with everything on our table, my son gifted me with their namesake cookbook. This recipe for Cauliflower Tartine with Hummus and Almonds is inspired by the cookbook and then tweaked based on some of the other restaurant stops throughout our trip.
Good bread is the base and very important to a successful tartine. I recommend sourdough bread, but use any favorite, rustic bread that will hold up to the toppings. Slice the bread very thin, about 1/4-inch thick. This recipe’s tartine spread is hummus and again, quality is key. I’ve shared a good but very basic hummus recipe in the printable, but you can use any favorite store-bought hummus that you like.
The curried cauliflower! Oh my dears, this cauliflower which is roasted with turmeric and cumin will be a springboard for many other recipes in the future. As you can see, roasting it to a deep color is important for even more flavor.
After roasting the cauliflower, here is where I deviated from the original cookbook’s recipe:
I wanted to add some nice crunch to the tartine and was inspired by a superb meal we’d had at Fork In The Road. Fork served spice-infused oils for drizzling and added toasted almonds to a cauliflower dish that was out of this world. So I infused some light olive oil with turmeric and red pepper flakes, then heated the almonds in the infused oil. The almonds became softened just enough to be perfect and the oil was ready to finish off the whole thing just before serving.
Any light olive oil (again, good quality here) is nice over the top of the tartine, but why not flavor it? The taste is subtle but only adds to the complexity of the tartine.
Cauliflower Tartine with Hummus and Almonds is hearty enough for a lunch served alongside a tossed salad, or as a starter for dinner. Cut the tartines into smaller servings and you have a fresh appetizer. You could spread everything on baguettes, but that option is time-consuming, hence I recommend just cutting up larger slices of rustic bread at the end. Try this recipe and I think you’ll be finding other ways to incorporate the curry-roasted cauliflower (just by itself it’s amazing) and the turmeric almonds (a yummy snack).
And if you live in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas, the restaurants I mentioned are probably well-known to you. But if you’re not familiar with these establishments or will soon travel nearby, put them on your list. You wont regret it.
I was not compensated or contacted to write about any of the restaurants mentioned in this article. I just fell in love with every one of them.
- For the hummus, if wanting homemade:
- 1½ cups canned chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid!)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- For the curried cauliflower:
- ½ cauliflower, washed, dried and broken into very small florets
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 1 sprig thyme, leaves only (or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves)
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt
- For the almonds:
- 1 cup whole, raw almonds
- Optional- toast the almonds in some olive oil and turmeric for extra flavor
- Bread and additional toppings:
- 8 slices thinly sliced sourdough bread, about ¼-inch thick
- 1 scallion, chopped or sliced thin
- Extra olive oil to drizzle or if you toasted the almonds in the olive oil/turmeric mixture, save the excess for drizzling
- Crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- If making your own hummus, place all ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth. If necessary, use some of the reserved chickpea liquid to thin the mixture to a smooth puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. In a bowl, toss the cauliflower with the spices, thyme leaves and olive oil, mixing well.
- Transfer to an oven-proof dish or baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until lightly brown on one side. Be careful to not cook the cauliflower until it's too soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly while spreading hummus over thinly sliced bread.
- To serve, spread the hummus on the bread and top with the curried cauliflower and almonds. Sprinkle the scallion on top and drizzle with the olive oil.
- Add extra red pepper flakes and fresh ground pepper, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Le Pain Quotidien, Los Angeles CA.