Not quite a year ago, a friend and I stumbled into a small, romantically lit French-inspired eatery in the West Village for a quick bite before heading around the corner to see a play. The only thing I remember about the play is that it was too long. What I do remember about that night is the tartine I ordered at Buvette – the well-known gastrotheque that I had only just come across.
I love toast. Who doesn’t? Give me a nice piece of bread (no Wonder Bread, please), slather it in butter and dust it with some Maldon flakes and I’m in heaven. Or you can give me an herbed ricotta bruschetta (god bless you, Ina), a pea pesto crostini, or a sage-prosciutto tartine, like at Buvette.
Bruschetta, crostini, tartine, toast. They’re all the same thing: grilled or toasted bread with toppings, often spreadable and often offered as hors d’oeuvres or light meals. And I. Love. Them. So when I ordered the “Pesto di Parma tartinette”* that night, inspiration struck.
I loved every bite, and wished I had more. The thing about Buvette is that it’s a “small, romantically lit French-inspired eatery in the West Village,” which translates to $$$. I’m just saying, good thing the tickets to the play that night were free because at least the money I did shell out was for something I enjoyed. So, since I didn’t anticipate going back often (and indeed, I haven’t been back yet), I asked the waitress if she could tell me what all was in the pesto. I got out my phone and industriously typed up all the ingredients she told me in the notes section to try and recreate the dish at a later time.
That brings us to this blog post. Every time I’ve thought of making the pesto, I’ve opted out in favor of making something with ingredients I already have. But when Christmas rolled around and I unwrapped my new Italian stovetop toaster (I have no idea what it’s actually called, but I see Gabriele use one on Extra Virgin all the time and I became fixated), all the different possibilities for toast began pouring in. Then I remembered the Pesto di Parma. The time had come.
Somehow though, my note with the ingredients was deleted. Way to go, Tory, geez, you almost ruined EVERYTHING. All I remembered was sage and prosciutto. So guess what. I just made it up. I mean, it’s pesto. Obviously it has herbs and olive oil and cheese and nuts. So today, you will find my own re-invention of that tartine from Buvette.
The good thing about a recipe like this is that it does not have to be exact. I liked the end result but next time I might bump up the prosciutto and bump down the sage. I could make it looser with more olive oil if I wanted to toss it with pasta, or I could cut back and make it even thicker. It all depends on your tastes and your mood. Don’t like walnuts? Maybe try something else next time. The world is your oyster, ya know? But I mean, this first go ‘round was pretty solid. I think it’ll stick around for a while.
OH, and by the way, Happy New Year!
Sage, Prosciutto, and Walnut Pesto Tartine
Yields: about 2 cups
1 packed cup sage leaves
¾ cup toasted walnuts
3 ounces prosciutto
1 cup grated parmesan (2 ounces), plus more to serve
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
¾ cup olive oil
Juice from half a lemon, plus some zest for serving
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher or Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A French baguette or a sourdough boule
- Add the garlic to a food processor or blender and pulse until it’s nicely minced, about 20 seconds.
- Roughly chop the sage, walnuts, and prosciutto. Add them to the food processor with the red pepper flakes and blend until the mixture is coarsely and evenly chopped.
- Add the lemon juice and start the food processor. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
- Once all of the olive oil is in, add the parmesan and blend until just incorporated.
- To serve, toast or grill sliced of your bread. (If using a pan, brush both sides of the bread with a little oil.) Once they come off the grill or pan, rub the top side with a garlic clove cut in half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread each slice with pesto and garnish with a light dusting of lemon zest and parmesan. Now tuck in and enjoy.
*Right after I made this, I was browsing for a photo of Buvette’s own dish online and of course I found the actual recipe. Mine is much more herb-y, so it’s not quite the same. I think both recipes are delicious. See Martha make the original with the owner of Buvette, Jody Williams.