In this month of mother Mary, a lovely tartine in honor of Mother’s Day
In the Pacific Northwest, May is usually when we experience the first full blush of spring. The earth, sun and rain reveal the fruits of their winter labors in a plethora of buds, shoots, stems, leaves and other tender good things.
It makes delightful providential sense that May is also the month dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus and of us all, whose love is as the loveliest spring. Crammed full with Marian feast days, apparitions and miracles, May is also when we celebrate Mother’s Day (and did I mention my mother’s birthday is in May?). It truly is a month-long celebration!
Mother’s Day honors all women. As mothers, godmothers and spiritual mothers, big sisters, loving aunts, caretakers and neighbors, we are called to an experience of motherhood (and chocolates and spa treatments!). And in Mary, we are given the ultimate example of love, of docility, and of an otherworldly tensile strength which transcends our human-ness while remaining so human.
As a godmother and aunt who cooks, the many children in my life all spend time in the kitchen — sitting on the counter as babies, on chairs or stools at my shoulder, or manning the toaster. A nurturing joy fills my heart as they learn to make “Muppet” guacamole, whip cream to soft peaks, or toast toast.
Toast is often a revelation. With myriad options and countless combinations, toast makes for terrific eating: hazelnut-chocolate and cookie-butter spreads marbled with a shower of toasted crushed cashews and a sprinkling of sea salt; sautéed red peppers, mushrooms and garlicky spinach atop a schmear of cream cheese; whipped butter with dollops of runny jam … it’s all good. A sophisticated take on toast, I offer this tartine in time for Mother’s Day. May it be pleasing to you and the important women in your life. Happy eating!
Roast asparagus and cured salmon tartine
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup basil leaves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons spring chives, finely minced or snipped
¼ cup radish, shaved thin as possible
2 cups microgreens or baby arugula, loosely packed
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
12–15 stalks asparagus, cut into 4-inch lengths or in half
4 thick pieces rustic artisan bread, toasted to preference
4 eggs — over easy, sunny side up, soft poached or soft boiled
4 ounces cold smoked salmon, gravlax or lox (or ham or prosciutto)
Mise en place
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, basil and lemon. Set aside.
Prep chives. Set aside.
Lightly toss radishes and microgreens together.
Whisk together vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil
and pinch of salt and pepper until slightly emulsified.
In a shallow baking tray or sheet pan, arrange asparagus in a single layer and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil, rubbing to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 10–12 minutes, or until just beginning to roast but still firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
While asparagus is roasting, prepare toast and eggs. Place toast on cooling rack to maintain crispness. Carefully set eggs aside on a plate to stop the cooking.
Spread each piece of toast with butter. On each piece, layer one-fourth of the cured salmon and sprinkle with a half-tablespoon of chives. Arrange asparagus atop salmon layer. Add basil mixture in small dollops on top of asparagus. Carefully arrange an egg atop the asparagus. Gently toss radish and microgreens with 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette, adding more to taste. Salad should be barely moistened.
Arrange assembled tartine in the center of a roomy plate. Mound a quarter of the salad atop the tartine. Drizzle plates with remaining vinaigrette.
Northwest Catholic - May 2018