The challenge, as presented by Clotilde, was to create a tartine, which she defined as an open-faced sandwich topped with a spreadable ingredient and artfully-arranged toppings. To meet these guidelines, I altered Ms. Silverton's recipe, which calls for layering slices of avocado on top of bacon and watercress. Instead, I crushed the avocado with a fork, blending it with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, to make a spreadable base in which to embed the rest of the toppings. But, I am jumping ahead.
First, I took a slice of round country bread, spread both sides lightly with butter, and grilled it. When the bread was grilled to a light golden brown, I removed it from the panini press and rubbed the top with a raw clove of garlic. Then, I spread a generous layer of the avocado mixture across the bread and topped it with two slices of crisp bacon. Between the bacon strips, I carefully inserted tender, baby leaves of mâche (which I substituted for the watercress because they looked so much better and fresher at the store). You may not be able to tell from the picture, but I think this made for an aesthetically-arranged sandwich, with the bacon, lettuce, and avocado forming their own defined zones of color and texture. But, more importantly, the tartine was delicious!
Thanks to Clotilde for launching this international tartine-a-thon!