I’m on a roll with two vegetarian dishes in a row! This time, it’s an appetizer – which can double as a snack – that has the classic combination of goat cheese (also known as chèvre), olives, and cranberries set on a hazelnut and herb crust.
Perplexed about the goat-cheese-and-olive combo? A little too briny for your taste? But if you’ve had a Greek salad before, which constitutes feta cheese and Kalamata olives, then that should dispel your fear. Although feta is usually made with a mix of sheep’s milk (up to 70%) and goat’s milk (up to 30%), there is a similar strength of character to both milk that pairs well with olives. Call it the Mediterranean connection. For my tartines, I used goat’s cheese from the French Alps, Nicoise olives from the Alpes-Maritimes region near Nice, and just regular supermarket dried sweetened cranberries. Mediterranean with a twist.
The dried sweet cranberries are there to be the yin in the yang: not as opposing forces, but actually complementary. The flavour surprisingly works, giving the tartine a more full-bodied dimension. Suffice to say, the sweet cranberries complete the goat cheese tartine (insert “you complete me” joke now).
Let’s get to the the hazelnut, chia, and herb crust, shall we? I found the recipe in Aran Goyoaga’s cookbook, “Small Plates and Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking.” When I saw the recipe, I knew I just had to try it! The original called for millet flour, but since I didn’t have it on hand, I replaced it with more hazelnut flour (which I made by grinding my own raw, shelled hazelnuts). The crust still turned out fantastically, and let’s not forget the omega-rich chia seeds baked in it!
It’s about time I feature a tartine recipe here on my blog called “Tartine and Apron Strings.” You’d think with that name I’ll be blasting these open-faced sandwiches (tartines in French) left and right. Well, this might be the beginning…
- ~~ For the Hazelnut, Chia, and Herb Crust ~~
- ¾ cup (105 g) brown rice flour
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons (55 g) hazelnut flour (or ground raw hazelnuts)
- 2 tablespoons (16 g) tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) chia seeds, ground or whole
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 stick (8 tbsp or 110 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½" cubes
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
- ~~ For the Tartine Topping ~~
- 170 grams (6 oz) fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 55 grams (2 oz) pitted black olives, like Nicoise, Picholine, or Taggiasca
- 40 grams (1.5 oz) dried sweet cranberries
- bitter micro greens like arugula, radish, or watercress, for garnish
- To make the hazelnut, chia, and herb crust: combine the brown rice flour, hazelnut flour, tapioca starch, chia seeds, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse three time to aerate.
- Add the cold butter pieces and pulse 10x until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Add 6 tablespoons of ice water and pulse just until combined. It doesn't need to form a ball at this time. Add more water, a ½ a tablespoon at a time, if the dough seems dry. When you press the dough and it sticks together, then it is ready.
- Transfer the dough onto a work surface or on to a piece of large parchment paper. I like to do it on parchment paper as the dough tends to be sticky.
- Knead a couple of times with your well-floured hands. Quickly form it into a 6-inch square (approximate only). Do not handle the dough too much and don't worry if it isn't a perfect square.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough and gently flip it on to the plastic. Discard the parchment paper. Flatten the dough out with the plastic and wrap tightly.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
- Remove dough from the refrigerator. Either dust a work surface with brown rice flour or use a piece of parchment paper. Again, I used parchment paper underneath the dough for the rolling.
- Roll the dough to a rectangle that is approximately 7" x 10" and ⅛" to ¼" thick. Work quickly so the dough does not become too soft. If it cracks, pinch it back together.
- Transfer the rolled dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Trim the edge with a pie cutter, if desired.
- Chill dough for 20 minutes, or until firm.
- Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until firm, golden, and set. Remove from oven.
- While the crust is cooling, cut crust into squares with a pie cutter, cookie cutter, or knife. Work on putting the toppings on the crust while it's still warm (preferably).
- To assemble the tartines, smear a tablespoon of crumbled goat cheese.
- Top with olives and dried cranberries, and garnish with your choice of micro greens.