I love open-faced sandwiches, but they are messy suckers. The toppings can spill off your bread, onto the plate, onto your lap, into your fingernails, etc. So for this Fiesta Friday I made a Tuna Tartine on bread that’s been pressed/fried in a pan of warm garlicky lemon/anchovy dressing, then neatly cut up into bite-sized pieces. It’s better than crostini or bruschetta because you get less crunch dry crust and more dressing soaked bread.
Warning: the Bagna Cauding dressing is one of the top 5 most delicious things I have ever made . . . once you make it you will want to put it on everything!
A benefit to this recipe is that you learn a great technique/concept that is endlessly adaptable to what you have on hand: mash up a fresh herby, garlicky dressing (or a gingery miso dressing, or a peppery red wine shallot vinaigrette), heat it up, dunk bread (or english muffin, tortilla, smashed halved baked potato or sweet potato, or pour over blanched veggies like broccoli or cauliflower) and fry! Pour remaining hot dressing over greens/rest of your dish. Yum!
A note on the ingredients: I know it seems like a lot of butter, but read up! I am not an evangelist but after a lot of research and reading, I am convinced that pastured, grass-fed, raw and cultured butter is not only not bad for you, but actually good for you. We actually go through 2 lbs of raw cultured grass fed butter a week and since incorporating more grass fed butter, fermented and cultured foods (kefir, raw yogurt, sauerkraut, sourdough breads, sprouted or soaked grains), pastured and sustainably raised meats, and zilching out the processed foods, I have never felt better. I feel good about supporting the smaller scale farmers; my blood tests and other health markers are downright great; and, I have even-keeled moods & energy throughout the day.
But hey, this isn’t a health blog and food choices are personal. Plus, sometimes I think what we think we know now . . . . we may not agree is correct 100 years from now . . . who knows? Experiment and find what works for you within your values and budget and priorities.
Of prime importance to me is delicious, slightly playful, sometimes decadent food that’s made with love and joy, to be enjoyed with family, friends, even strangers. Or alone with your feet up on the couch! Home cooked food is a potent bond that connects us to our humanity. Yikes, how did I get here (here) from there (the beginning of this recipe)? Onward . . .
Ingredients (Makes 4 servings, plus extra dressing)
Bagna Cauda Dressing:
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
2 Tbsp mayonnaise (or you can use olive oil or vegannaise)
1 tsp Aleppo pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 very large slices whole grain bread, (I used my Sprouted Farro Porridge Bread) preferebly from boule shaped bread, dunked into Bagna Cauda on both sides briefly
Make Bagna Cauda:
Combine anchovies and garlic in a mortar and pestle and pulverize into a smooth paste.
Transfer the paste to a small saucepan. Add the butter and olive oil and bring to a simmer over low heat. Continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Taste and season with salt and more lemon juice.
Anchovies and Garlic
Into the Pan with Butter and Olive Oil
It’s Starting to Smell Delicious
1. Mix tuna with mayonnaise, salt and pepper and Alelppo pepper. Mix well.
2. Mix all other ingredients into tuna with a fork, mashing gently with the back of a fork until roughly incorporated.
Make Tartine Bites:
Place bagna cauda in cast iron skillet. Dunk slices into dressing and press into both sides of bread. Remove bread and let soak a couple minutes. Reserve bagna cauda dressing.
Saute bread slices in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat for a minute on each side.
Remove bread from skillet and let cool for a minute or two. Mound tuna mixture onto bread. Pat down & compact tuna mixture with the back of a spoon and make sure tuna mixture holds together well and is not too loosely arranged on bread.
Place a piece of parchment paper over the bread and slice into sections. Remove parchment paper and add pieces of egg, avocado, radish if you like.
Gently heat remaining bagna cauda dressing until warm. Pour remaining dressing over the top of bread bites.