There I was, standing and crying between the bell peppers and zucchini. My tears weren’t from the fact that these slightly shriveled vegetables looked like they had traveled through four states to get here. My weeping came from a different place. I’d suddenly came to the realization that my family unit was shrinking. One kid is out in the world adulting. One is on his way out, and the last is not far behind. Family dinners around the table are becoming less and less frequent. Although I cannot make them all live with me forever, I can make every meal count with the ones who are still present. And hear me when I say I wasn’t about to make a lunch with less than optimal produce.
That’s the ticket, I thought. I needed to get my hands on fresh, locally-farmed ingredients to make a tasty lunch of tartine for Izzy and me. (A tartine is a slice of bread with a sweet or savory topping.) It wasn’t about all the bells and whistles. It was about making something simple—yet beautiful and delicious—just for two people. I needed to dry my tears, cook something fabulous, and enjoy every moment I could with the ones still under my roof.
I popped into SALT Spices and Specialties in Wolflin Village and found the most gorgeous salad mixes from Square Mile Community-Based Urban Farm. They would soon be the star of my tartines. While I was there, I grabbed a small bag of pink peppercorns to give the salad greens a contrasting pop of color. I had some beef at home that needed to be cooked, so I decided to make a simple tartine of beef, herbed butter and salad mix.
And just like that, I had a gorgeous filet on ciabatta with the most exquisite accessories of baby arugula and kale to share with my beautiful Izzy for a Saturday afternoon lunch. Do yourself a favor and find fresh local ingredients—whether at farmer’s markets or a local boutique—and build a memory around them.
Filet on Ciabatta with Herbed Butter, Kale Arugula Mix, and Pink Peppercorn
2 (8-ounce) beef filets, room temperature
4 slices ciabatta bread
Olive oil for drizzling
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 handfuls salad mix, washed and spun
2 tablespoons pink peppercorns, lightly crushed
White balsamic glaze for drizzling
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Season each filet on all sides with kosher salt and cracked pepper. Grill or cook in a preheated skillet with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter until cooked to your preference. Medium rare is suggested. Let the filets rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
Place sliced ciabatta onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toast in oven for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
Using a fork and small bowl, smash remaining butter and mix in the Italian seasoning until fully incorporated. Set aside.
Using a cutting board and knife, slice each filet into ¼-inch slices. Spread herbed butter onto each slice of toasted ciabatta, then top with 3 to 4 slices of the filet. Lightly place a bit of salad mix on top of the beef, and sprinkle with crushed pink peppercorns. Finish the dish by drizzling the balsamic glaze over the toast and serve with a smile.