Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 11: Ham and Asparagus Tartines

2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
2 teaspoons freshly grated or ground nutmeg
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large ¾-inch-thick hand-cut slices from a large loaf of farm-style bread
¾ pound baked ham, thinly sliced
16 asparagus tips, blanched for a minute or two then chilled in ice water and dried well
¾ pound Brie, sliced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon apricot jam or orange marmalade
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups mixed baby greens, any variety

Preheat the broiler to high.

Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and melt. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the half-and-half. Season with 1 teaspoon of the Dijon mustard, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes to thicken. Remove from the heat. Spread the bread slices with the sauce and top with a couple slices of ham, 4 asparagus tips, and the Brie.

Melt the Brie under the broiler.

In a salad bowl, whisk together the remaining teaspoon of mustard, the vinegar, apricot jam, and tarragon. Whisk in the EVOO in a slow stream. Add the greens to the bowl and toss to dress. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve on large plates with the hot tartines alongside.


Instead of making the sauce again for this variation on the Croque Monsieurs, I just used the leftovers from the master recipe. I also used the leftover salad instead of making that all over again. It makes things so much quicker! I used a whole pound of asparagus, because I think we needed more veggies to this meal. It turned out great. RR says: "Tartines are open-face sandwiches that are especially popular in Belgium. This one is great for B or D: Brunch or Dinner."

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