When we got a basketful of nectarines from our CSA, we initially thought of turning them into a dessert ... but the fruits were so juicy and sweet in their own right that it seemed a crime to cover them up with sugar! Thus, we came up with the nectarine tartine. Not only is it fun to say but it has all the qualities of our favorite kind of summer dish – light, fresh, little or no heat required, and taking full advantage of the season's produce.
To make this open-faced sandwich, we grilled slices of good artisan bread and topped them with soft creamy mozzarella, fragrant basil leaves, ripe nectarine slices, and a drizzle of fruity saba. Each bite bursts with flavor and the textures complement one another just perfectly. If you're in the mood for a salad, the ingredients work quite well in that form, too.
Note: Saba, an unfermented syrup made from grape must, has a non-cloying, caramelized sweetness, which is preferable to the more acidic balsamic vinegar; however, you could try a thick, sweet balsamic or balsamic reduction if you don't have saba.
Summer Tartines With Mozzarella, Basil, and Nectarines
4 (4-inch-long) slices good bread Olive oil 1 (4-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella 1 large nectarine 4 large or 8 medium leaves basil (plus more for garnish, if desired) Saba Fleur de sel
Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil and grill or broil until browned.
Cut the mozzarella ball in half and cut each half into 6 slices. Halve and pit the nectarine and cut each half into 6 slices.
Assemble each tartine in this order: bread, 3 slices mozzarella, 1 or 2 basil leaves, 3 slices nectarine. Then drizzle saba on top and lightly sprinkle with salt (not too much – just a hint). Serve immediately.