At the end of this recipe I will discuss Moretum in more detail and why I decided to choose it for this particular recipe.
Sautéed Beef & Onion Brunch Tartines
Topped with spinach and Parmesan Moretum, melted Fontina cheese, an olive oil poached egg and fresh Pico de gallo, finished with a drizzle of warm extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic (minced)
4 -slices of a good quality round artesian bread (about 1’ thick)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon coarse ground sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 ounces baby spinach
½ teaspoon wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup diced sweet onion
10 ounces thinly sliced beef strips
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 ounces of Fontina cheese (cut into small cubes)
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon fresh Pico de gallo
Preheat oven to 450°F
Place bread onto a sheet pan, brush the tops liberally with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and a generous amount of minced garlic. Place in oven and bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until bread just begins to crisp and brown.
While bread is toasting make the Mortem by placing a tablespoon of olive oil into a small sauté pan over medium high heat, add the spinach, 1/8 teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of black pepper and ¼ teaspoon of minced garlic. Cook stirring frequently until spinach starts to wilt and brighten in color. (1-2 minutes). Place cooked spinach into a food processor, add vinegar, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon minced garlic and parmesan cheese, blend until well combined, add two tablespoons olive oil and continue blending until smooth. Set aside until needed
Place a teaspoon olive oil into a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add onions to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until translucent, season meat with ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and add to pan in a single layer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more or until browned on one side, add Worcestershire sauce and cook an additional 30 second while stirring. (the meat should just be cooked through) Remove from heat and set aside
Start assembling Tartines: Place about one quarter of the cooked beef mixture over top of each slice of toasted garlic bread then top each with about one quarter of the Mortem and Fontina cheese. Place back into the oven until cheese it well melted.
While cheese is melting add the lime juice to the Pico de gallo and stir.
In the meantime place the remaining olive oil into a sauté pan over medium heat, crack one egg at a time into the pan, once the egg whites start to set, carefully start spooning the hot oil over top until egg whites have set but egg yolks remain liquid. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each tartine with a poached egg, then spoon about half a tablespoon of Pico de gallo over each, drizzle with some of the warm olive oil and serve.
Makes 4 Tartines
A moretum is a type of sauce or spread of ancient Roman origin very similar to an Italian pesto or French pistou. It was made using a mortar and pestle to crush garlic, cheese and fresh herbs together with a touch of vinegar and oil. The poet Virgil named one of his poems Moretum and as you may gather from the name of the poem it talks about this wonderful sauce and how a farmer one day made it to spread on his fresh bread. Although it seems many recipes use the terms moretum, pesto and pistou interchangeably there are some subtle differences. Moretum contains a small amount of vinegar which technically it is not found in the other two. A true pesto contains pine nuts and a pistou technically does not.
Another thing I would like to mention is that although all of these sauces call for herbs, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, beet greens etc can be used but to give the proper texture when using leafy vegetables instead of herbs it is best to sauté or blanch them first.
I chose to use a Moretum in this recipe because it not only added a nice fresh yet robust flavor but the slight acidity helped break up some of the heavier aspects of the recipe. The Pico de gallo served to do the same and the combination of the two gave a nice color contrast to the dish, making it as appealing to the eye as well as the palate.