Photo by Justin Fox Burks
Chef Abby Jestis builds a heavenly tartine with salmon rillette, fig preserves, red onion relish, and house-made bread.
Many enchanting details inform Tart, a pastry shop and bistro that opened last May on Cooper Street. There’s the wrought-iron sunburst on the front door, the installation art space in the bathroom called CooperLoo, and the rich and delicious bread pudding studded with chocolate.
But nothing delights me more than Salmon Rillette Tartine, a beautifully executed sandwich that turns an ordinary lunch hour into an elegant and happy respite.
To best appreciate the French-inspired sandwich, let’s start with its back story: A rillette (pronounced ree-YEHT) refers more to preparation than ingredients. Typically, chefs combine meat, fish, or poultry into a type of pâté, store it in a jar or ramekin, and seal it with a layer of fat for preservation.
At Tart, co-owner and chef Abby Jestis combines smoked salmon and freshly poached salmon (50/50) with butter, crème fraiche, shallots, seasonings, and lemon juice. “I make a rough pate, put it back in jars, and seal it with clarified butter,” she explains.
For the tartine, an open-faced sandwich served on bread with toppings, Jestis uses house-made bread (scrumptious!) and builds from there: fig preserves, salmon rillette, red onion relish, shaved hard-boiled eggs, lemon zest, and a touch of cayenne pepper.
To make lunchtime even more festive, linger at the café’s pastry counter when you pay your bill. Admire the pastries and splurge a little on a macaroon, especially if it’s Monday when Jestis rolls out new flavors.
“People are here first thing every Monday morning,” Jestis says. “I can never make enough.”
820 S. Cooper (901-725-0091) $