Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini – Recipe

Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini
Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini

Here’s a sneak peek at one of my favorite new appetizers in the cookbook. I’ll probably serve this a lot at book signing events because it is easy to do and pops with lots of flavor. The key is to use a good, crisp cooking apple and then really caramelize is deeply, like you see in the picture above. Using both a quickly-made tarragon oil and the fresh leaves is a good trick to amp up the flavor.

These crostini are a cinch to make, and they will surprise your guests with the unexpected combination of caramelized apple, blue cheese, and tarragon. Serve them with a crisp, dry white wine for an elegant pre-dinner snack.

I prefer a creamy blue cheese that will get a little melty on the warm apples, such as Blue de Causses, but any blue cheese will work. Instead of tarragon, you could also use basil or even arugula.

If you have any fancy finishing salts (which you can find at high-end food retailers), this is the perfect dish to use them on. A few grains will sit beautifully on top of the apples and add a bit of extra crunch and interest.

Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini
Makes 16 crostini
20 minutes

  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 16 thin slices of crusty baguette
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 small apples such as Pink Lady, cut into 16 wedges
  • Tiny pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup blue cheese (such as Blue de Causses or Gorgonzola dolce), at room temperature
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon (aka the world’s greatest salt)) or large crystal sea salt (such as red Hawaiian salt)
  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Set aside 32 nice looking tarragon leaves. In a mortar and pestle or mini food processor, roughly puree the remaining tarragon with the olive oil.
  3. Brush the baguette slices with the tarragon oil, reserving the crushed tarragon. Toast in the oven (on a baking sheet) or toaster oven until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the apples on in a single layer, working in batches if needed, until both sides are golden brown and somewhat tender, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of cayenne pepper and several grinds of black pepper.
  5. To serve, arrange two slices of cooked apple on each crostini. Top with ½ teaspoon of the blue cheese, a speck of the crushed tarragon, two whole tarragon leaves, and a few grains of sea salt.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 in Appetizers, Recipes.

25 Responses to “Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    April 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Apples and tarragon and bleu cheese are just made for one another. This looks unbelievably good– I’m going through a huge crostini phase right now, so I can’t wait to put this one together!

  2. Reply
    April 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    What a good idea, I will have to make some. I just made these Canapé Bread loaves, also good with shrimp and dill dressing. link to

  3. Reply
    Carli Clark
    April 18, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I just ordered your cookbook on amazon! Please let us know when you have your book signing!

  4. Reply
    April 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Thanks, Carli! I know for sure I’ll be signing books at Book Larder on 6/19. More info here: link to – and I expect there will be several more Seattle area events. Looking forward to meeting you.

  5. Reply
    Priya Srinivasan
    April 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    What a good combo!

  6. Reply
    Carli Clark
    April 18, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    I’ll definitely aim to catch one of them. Looking forward to meeting you too!

  7. Reply
    Micaela Surdi
    April 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Oh wow! Ready to get your book asap. The two together sound magical.

  8. Reply
    April 19, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    These look wonderful! I always have so much tarragon from the garden and I’m not always sure what to do with it. Would love to serve it on these.

  9. Reply
    April 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    I love blue cheese and crostini bread! This looks like a refreshing way to use both. Speaking of cheese, when it comes to brie, is it okay to eat the rind? I came across an article here link to

    But I know people either like it or hate it.

    • Reply
      April 19, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

      Yes, it is absolutely okay to eat the rind on a good brie.

  10. Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    Now I have just the idea on what to do with my blue cheese, you’re really a life saver! Instead of using some salt, lemme use some of my french bread too. Instead of caramelizing the apples, do you think it would also be good by simply blow torching it?

    • Reply
      April 23, 2012 at 9:19 am #

      Blowtorch would work ok in terms of giving the apples some caramelized flavor; they presumably would stay more raw inside which might be a nice alternative.

  11. Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Superb. My whole family is somewhat licorice-negative, and we tend to downplay tarragon, but I decided to go with this recipe just as written. We all loved it, and found the balance of flavors just perfect. Some of the licorice-ness of tarragon (and some kinds of basil) seems to go away with puree-ing, for reasons I don’t understand but do appreciate. I skipped the finishing salt, since the gorgonzola was already moderately salty. I also brought the Gorgonzola to room temp by shoving it in the microwave for about 7 seconds, which also softened it a bit to make it easier to spread (and dealt with the problem of my not having read through the recipe before I started!). I’d like to try something similar with rosemary, although probably a lot LESS rosemary, and no actual leaves on the crostini. I also think that this is the rare appetizer that could go really well with a Sauternes. I may have to try that shortly — there was a big demand for a repeat of this recipe.

    • Reply
      April 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      Nice! I use the microwave trick for tempering cheese sometimes too, if I haven’t had the malice aforethought to bring it to room temperature the old fashioned way. Sauternes sounds nice although I might also think of a very dry, minerally Riesling. Oh wait, that’s what I like to drink with everything.

  12. Reply
    May 1, 2012 at 3:35 am #

    Good idea you have there Michael. I do agree with using blowtorch on apples so that we still get that ‘crispness’ inside while soft and caramelized outside.

  13. Reply
    May 3, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Wow, this is the perfect dish for a party! Now I just need to plan a party so I can make these…or maybe just make them and devour them all by myself…. What a great set of flavors!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2012 at 7:33 pm #

      Thanks, Kristen! Yeah, you don’t need to wait for a special occasion 🙂

  14. Reply
    May 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Thanks for the Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini recipe.
    I’ll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it 🙂
    If you don’t mind, can I submit your Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini photo in ?
    It’s a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. Or perhaps you’d like to submit by yourself? Let me know when you did, so I can share it.

  15. Reply
    May 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Looks good- I will have to wait for apple season and make some, until then, maybe peaches with goat cheese and chevil ??

    • Reply
      May 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      That will be quite different, but I think it sounds very, very good!

  16. Reply
    April 22, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    I am going prepare this next month for a certain group of ladies. I already posted the pic and they’re already ooohing and aaahing over it. Michael, if I tossed in a pinch of cinnamon would it complement the flavor or would it be at odds with the terragon?

    • Reply
      April 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

      I’d be disinclined to add cinnamon, I think it will make it taste like apple pie which as you say will probably fight the tarragon. But try it on one and see!

  17. Reply
    June 30, 2015 at 4:28 am #

    Fresh tarragon isn’t that easy to come by where i’m from, can you suggest a substitute ?

    • Reply
      June 30, 2015 at 6:02 am #

      You can use any fresh, tender herb that you enjoy.

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