We Americans have our signature sandwiches: heroes, hoagies, grinders, subs. The French have theirs, too: the tartine is an open-faced sandwich on toasted, buttered bread, topped with a variety of ingredients. While slimmer than our bulky bunch, tartines are packed with as much satisfying flavor. This sandwich takes its cue from the classic salade niçoise, where tuna, beans, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, and herbs mingle for a crisp meal popular in the French Riviera city for which it's named. Our version might make every other tuna sandwich seem so passé.
1 (12-ounce) can tuna packed in water, drained
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 hard-boiled egg, cooled and chopped
1/4 cup pitted niçoise or picholine olives, chopped
1 tomato, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup dried white beans, cooked, or about 1/3 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery, chopped into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Butter for toast (optional)
Crusty French bread (boule or baguette), sliced 1/2 inch thick, toasted
In a bowl, combine the tuna, pine nuts, egg, olives, tomato, beans, celery, onion, and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, sugar, and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in the oil until a smooth emulsion forms. Pour the vinaigrette over the tuna mixture and toss gently to coat.
Butter each piece of toast if you wish and top with a few heaping spoonfuls of tuna salad.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
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