Tartines sound fancy but are a cinch to make

A thick slice of artisan bread topped with grilled shrimp, avocado and pesto sauce makes a quick and easy sandwich supper.

Tartine means slice of bread in French and also can mean an open-face sandwich, usually with an elaborate topping. I created this quick dinner after tasting a tartine from the Books and Books Café at the Adrienne Arsht Center. I’ve adapted the recipe for this quick meal.

Avocado lends a creamy, nutty flavor. Look for an avocado that gives slightly to pressure. To ripen an avocado, place it in a brown paper bag in a warm spot. Adding a banana or apple to the bag helps speed ripening. Only refrigerate them after they are ripe. They will keep 2 to 3 days that way.

A peppery, tangy watercress salad completes the meal. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, having more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than oranges.

Helpful Hints:

Cut the avocado lengthwise until you reach the seed and rotate the knife around it. Open it and remove the seed. Cut each half into quarters and peel away the skin.

The best way to wash watercress is to place the bunch leaves first in a bowl of water. Swish the leaves to release any grit and remove from the water. Spin dry. Wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and store in a self-seal bag. It will keep several days this way.

Substitute 1 cup sliced, sautéed mushrooms if ripe avocado is unavailable.


Prepare the ingredients.

Assemble the sandwich.

Toss the watercress with the dressing and serve.


Food editor Evan S. Benn recommends a peppery saison to complement the watercress salad and cut through the avocado’s creaminess.

Shopping List:

To buy: 1 ripe small (Hass) avocado, 1 lemon, 1 small tomato, 1 bunch watercress, 3/4 pound shelled shrimp, 1 loaf whole grain bread, 1 container reduced-fat pesto sauce.

Staples: Olive oil spray, reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing, salt and black peppercorns.

Shrimp and Avocado Tartine

1 cup diced ripe avocado

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Olive oil spray

3/4 pound shelled shrimp

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 thick slices whole grain bread

1 small tomato, sliced

2 tablespoons reduced-fat pesto sauce

Prepare avocado and place in a bowl with the lemon juice. Toss to make sure all pieces are coated. Set aside. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add shrimp and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until they turn pink. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toast the bread and place on two dinner plates. Spoon avocado onto each slice. Layer tomato slices over the avocado. Top with the shrimp and spoon pesto sauce over the shrimp. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 497 calories (37 percent from fat), 20.3 g fat (3.1 g saturated, 10.8 g monounsaturated), 279 mg cholesterol, 45.2 g protein, 35.9 g carbohydrates, 10.3 g fiber, 540 mg sodium.

Watercress Salad

2 cups watercress

2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil and vinegar dressing

Toss watercress with the dressing and serve the salad next to the tartine. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 15 calories (58 percent from fat), 1.0 g fat (0.1 g saturated, 0.3 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 0.9 g protein, 1.1 g carbohydrates, 0.2 g fiber, 18 mg sodium.