I got a whole loaf of bulgar wheat bread from my mom for Christmas this year. She usually makes it for family dinners, and I was more than a little excited to see a whole loaf of the stuff in my stocking yesterday. Mom’s wheat bread is simultaneously tender and hearty with just enough sweetness to help you lose track of how much you’re eating around the family table. Yesterday during a particularly passionate discussion about deer meat, I caught myself nibbling on bread slice number three of the meal, slathered with farm fresh apple butter. Of course, I was way too full for a second helping of salad. “Three slices!” I wondered, “How does this happen every year??” The answer is that the nostalgia brought on by bulgar wheat bread tends to distract me from the detritus of adulthood, like counting calories or bothering with vegetables.
Still. I have an entire loaf of this wheat bread in my grown-up pantry, and I need to find a way to use it that doesn’t involve me slurping up a whole jar of apple butter.
Enter radish tartines. These simple-to-make, open faced sandwiches are just the thing to awaken my palate from its nostalgic torpor. A thick slice of wheat toast buttresses a creamy-tart layer of cheese along with spicy radish slices from My Father’s Farm. A pop of red wine vinegar, crunchy sea salt and cracked pepper top the whole thing.
I’ve sampled two versions of this sandwich so far, each slightly different because of the variety of radishes that came in our Local Box this week; I received a Spanish black radish, two watermelon radishes, and two French breakfast radishes in our bunch from My Father’s Farm. Although I used the beautiful and mild-mannered watermelon radish in my pictures of the sandwich– who could resist those radiant reds and greens around Christmastime?– the Spanish black radishes’ assertive, peppery crunch made it my favorite tartine topper of the three varieties.
Even though you won’t have a loaf of mom’s bulgar wheat bread in your pantry, I hope that you enjoy the simple pleasure of crunchy radishes, rich cream cheese, tart vinegar, and nutty whole wheat with your own version of this easy sandwich.
Radish Tartine (serves 1)
1 thick slice of good quality whole wheat bread
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
1 tablespoon cream cheese
2 teaspoons sour cream
1-2 radishes, any variety, sliced very thin (about 12 slices)
fresh ground pepper
red wine vinegar & olive oil
Preheat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Brush one side of the slice of bread with olive oil and toast bread oil-side-down on a preheated grill pan or skillet. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix cream cheese and sour cream until well combined. Place toasted bread cooked-side-up on a plate and spread cheese mixture over the top. Cover cheese with a layer of radish slices, then top with salt and pepper. Drizzle sandwich with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar to finish. Serve immediately.