This super simple, 5-ingredient dish is a brunch favorite I learned working for the great Margot McCormack. A toasted piece of crusty bread is slathered with lightly sweetened mascarpone cheese, fresh macerated strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Warning: this strawberry tartine is about to become your new food obsession.
While Nashville's favorite brunch spot - Marché Artisan Foods - is no longer with us, there's no reason the fan-favorite dishes can't live on. For the entire time I worked at Marché, this strawberry tartine was an eternal favorite that I looked forward to every spring. Luckily for all of us, this yummy dish is exceedingly easy to make at home.
Want someone to make the OG strawberry tartine for you? Come visit Margot Cafe and Bar for breakfast, lunch or brunch!
Table of Contents
What is a Tartine?
You know how foreign languages make even the most banal things sound super sexy? Well tartine is one of those words. Basically French for "open faced sandwich," tartines can be sweet or savory, large or small. Often eaten as either a breakfast or lunch, these snacks run the gamut in terms of flavors.
At Marché, our tartines were mostly of the sweet, fruit laden variety. Peaches & ricotta for summer, pears & camembert for fall, roasted grapes & goat cheese for winter. This strawberry mascarpone tartine has always been my favorite, and it is so easy to recreate at home.
Why I Love This Recipe
I'm someone who enjoys - nay, relishes - carbohydrates in the form of good bread. I'm also a big fan of all berries (especially perfectly ripe spring strawberries) and most cheeses. And my favorite condiment? Just about anything made with vinegar. This delightfully simple dish combines all of those things into a gee dang masterpiece.
Sliced strawberries are macerated in the lightest coating of sugar to coax out all the lovely juices. Mascarpone is tinged with a hint of sweet vanilla. Balsamic vinegar is reduced down to a treacly agrodolce syrup. And then all of those things are loaded onto a lightly toasted, thick crusted, big-bubbled, perfect piece of bread. It's transcendent.
If any of that sounds unattainable to you, I'm here to tell you a secret: making this strawberry tartine is super undemanding. The hardest part is finding a good enough loaf of bread! The rest is literally just slicing and stirring.
NOTE: If you're in Nashville, I highly recommend Dozen Bakery for all your bread needs. This recipe is also excellent if you'd rather save the money and make your own. Alternately, I am a huge fan of the Costco bakery - the bread featured in this photo is the multigrain loaf, which comes in a two pack for $6.99.
How to Make a Marché Style Strawberry Tartine
This brunch staple is easier to achieve at home than you may have previously thought. Simply reduce some balsamic vinegar to syrupy goodness, slice some berries and toss them with sugar and whip some mascarpone with sweetener. It takes very little active time, but making the reduction does require a bit of patience.
1 - Balsamic Reduction
If you're feeling lazy, certain stores actually carry balsamic reductions already made. But if you have just a bit of time, a small pot and some balsamic vinegar on your hands, you're just a few easy steps away from this magical elixir.
The directions couldn't be simpler: pour balsamic vinegar into sauce pot. Put pot over low heat. Simmer until thick and syrupy. That's it.
NOTE: If you want a sweeter balsamic reduction, add honey, agave or maple syrup to taste.
2 - Sweetened Mascarpone
This is another easy piece. All you need is softened mascarpone and some honey (or the sweetener of your choice). Mix until well combined. Easy, right?
3 - Macerated Berries
Rinse your berries well. Stem and slice them. Drizzle them with a bit of honey and let them sit for 5-10 minutes. You're basically there.
4 - Assembly
Take a thick-ish slice of your yummy bread and toast it just enough to warm through. (If you're feeling extra indulgent, give it the fried bread/large format crouton treatment from my Beans & Greens on Toast.)
Slather on a generous swoosh of sweetened mascarpone. Pile the berries and their accumulated juices on as high as your heart desires.
Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar. Dig in. Enjoy every last bite of that beautiful strawberry tartine. You deserve it.
While this strawberry tartine à la Marché is pretty perfect just the way it is, there are plenty of opportunities to make it all your own. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Herbs - mint, basil, or tarragon would all pair very nicely.
- Different vinegars - white balsamic or fruit vinegars can be used to macerate the berries or reduced down to a drizzle.
- Sweetened reduction - if you want the balsamic drizzle to be sweeter, feel free to add some honey, maple, agave or brown sugar.
- Different berries or fruits
- Different spreadable cheese - cream cheese, ricotta, or blended cottage cheese can all step in for the mascarpone.
Frequently Asked Questions
My personal favorite is either a tub of whipped cream cheese, or a mixture of softened block cream cheese and heavy cream. Mascarpone is something that I can only find at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and some Publix stores, so I often turn to this easy (and cheap) hack:
Mix together 8 oz of softened cream cheese with ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream. Mix until well combined. Your "mascarpone" is ready to use!
Y'all, the best thing about tartines is how simple they are. You are free to use any fruit that you'd like! While strawberries are one of my all-time favorite fruits around, you can easily swap in any other berries that you've macerated. I'll also be sharing a recipe for the equally famous Marché style peach tartine soon!
Make seconds! All joking aside, though, this stuff is delicious. Try it on some fresh sliced tomatoes with mozzarella and basil for a variation on caprese salad. Put it on your cheese plate. Drizzle it over vanilla ice cream (not joking). Use it to finish your grilled chicken or fish, or all over your favorite roasted vegetables.
Once you start experimenting with it, you'll see just how versatile a balsamic reduction is. It'll also last a long time in the fridge, so it's definitely worth making.
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Marché Style Strawberry Tartine with Balsamic Reduction
- 1 Slice Crusty Bread lightly toasted
- ¼ C Mascarpone
- 2-4 teaspoon Honey divided, to taste. Or sub maple syrup, agave nectar, powdered sugar, or sweetener of choice.
- 8-10 Strawberries sliced
- 2 teaspoon Balsamic Reduction
- Pour balsamic vinegar into sauce pot. Put pot over low heat. Simmer until thick and syrupy. If you're feeling lazy, certain stores actually carry balsamic reductions already made.NOTE: If you want a sweeter balsamic reduction, add honey, agave or maple syrup to taste.
- Mix 1-2 teaspoon honey and mascarpone until well combined.
- Rinse your berries well. Stem and slice them. Drizzle them with a bit of honey (1-2 teaspoon), stir and let them sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Take a thick-ish slice of your yummy bread and toast it just enough to warm through. Slather on a generous swoosh of sweetened mascarpone. Pile the berries and their accumulated juices on as high as your heart desires. Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar. Dig in!
- Nutrition values are very approximate and will vary based on the size of the slice of bread you choose. For reference, this is based on a 185 calorie slice.
- No mascarpone? No problem! Mix together 8 oz of softened cream cheese with ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream. Mix until well combined. Your "mascarpone" is ready to use!