TIP OF THE DAY: Light & Luscious Summer Lunch
It’s too darn hot. After a few days of downing pints of ice cream and sorbet, we started working on more nutritious fare.
Beyond the green salads and fruit salads, we began playing with summer-specific tartness, the French word for open-face sandwiches.
Tartine is the French word for an open-faced sandwich with a rich spread or fancy topping; the word actually refers to a slice of bread. Tartine is the French diminutive of the Old French and Middle English tarte, derived from the Late Latin torta, a type of bread. Here’s more about tartines.
Tartines have faded from fashion in the U.S. After World War II, hearty open face roast beef or turkey sandwich with gravy were popular fare, eaten with a knife and fork. Ladies’ lunch rooms served more delicate versions, with smoked salmon and sliced cucumber or a lighter version of beef or turkey.
But with much better bread available to us, it’s time to revisit the tartine. The ingredients can be seasonal: topped with melted cheese in cooler months, and with arugula, mesclun or sprouts in warmer ones.
In fact, the vegetable bounty of summer calls out for tartines. The combinations are vast:
Begin with choosing a bread that gives character to your tartine. You can serve it toasted or untoasted. Consider:
Anything spreadable goes on top of the bread. You can season any of the dairy products to taste.
 Tartine of ricotta, radishes and chives (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).  Hummus and fat sliced asparagus, topped with pine nuts (photo © Hannah Kaminsky| Bittersweet Blog).  Heirloom tomato tartine (photo courtesy Quinciple.  Goat cheese, gravlax and figs (photo courtesy Vermont Creamery).
Spa water with sliced cucumbers, lemons and mint (photo courtesy SunsetGrowers).
WHAT TO DRINK: SPA WATER
Spa water—water seasoned with fruits and herbs—is the perfect complement to a summer tartine. Use at least a trio of these aromatics for flavor and fragrance.
Here’s a recipe from Sunset Growers, which used its mini cucumbers:
Ingredients For 8 Cups (2 Quarts, 1/2 Gallon)
1. ADD the ingredients to a large pitcher and fill with water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
2. SERVE over ice in large glasses or wine goblets, with a slice of cucumber and lemon in each serving.
*We love cucumber-flavored water, so we used a large conventional cucumber. You can use any of the different types of cucumbers. Specialty cucumbers like the rippled Armenian cucumber and the Palace King with ripples of yellow on the dark green skin add interest in the pitcher.