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Food & Drink

Dinner in Minutes: Fancy tartines a cinch to make

| Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Fast, healthy: Shrimp and avocado tartine with watercress salad is this week's Dinner in Minutes. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)
Fast, healthy: Shrimp and avocado tartine with watercress salad is this week's Dinner in Minutes. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)

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 Cafe 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. Refrigerate them only after they are ripe. They will keep for 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.

Shrimp and Avocado Tartine

1 cup diced, ripe avocado

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Olive-oil cooking spray

34 pound shelled shrimp

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 thick slices whole-grain bread

1 small tomato, sliced

2 tablespoons reduced-fat pesto sauce

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

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 497 calories, 20 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 279 milligrams cholesterol, 45 grams protein, 36 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams dietary fiber, 540 milligrams sodium

Watercress salad

2 cups watercress

2 tablespoons reduced-fat oil-and-vinegar dressing

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

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition per serving: 15 calories, 1 gram fat (0 saturated), 1 milligram cholesterol, 1 gram protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, 0 dietary fiber, 18 milligrams sodium


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, sauteed mushrooms if ripe avocado is unavailable.

Linda Gassenheimer is a food writer for the Miami Herald. Write to her in care of Living, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA, 15212, or email

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