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Crostini are a perfect, versatile party food, consisting of wonderful toppings on toasty bread. One savory bite of this autumn inspired appetizer will entice you to go jump into a big pile of colorful leaves. I’m sure of it, especially here in California where palm trees are shedding like crazy.

For those unfamiliar, prosciutto is delectable dried or cured ham, the word derived from Latin roots meaning “to suck out [the moisture]”.  Prosciutto di San Daniele, however, is one of the most renowned.  Its precise, yet simple maturation process involves only sea salt and the natural environment of 10 regions in central and northern Italy. The science of food fascinates me.  No preservatives or chemicals added.  A beautiful thing.

A unique and easy appetizer that will impress guests throughout the fall, upcoming holidays, and any following seasons. Don’t let the diverse layers of flavor deter you from making this hard to resist dish.  Alone great ingredients, but together the creamy, melted cheddar cheese, tart green apples, salty prosciutto, sweet honey and crunchy walnuts just work.

Enjoy!

Autumn Apple, Cheddar & Prosciutto di San Daniele Crostini

makes 8 crostini

  • 1 tbsp OLIVE OIL, EXTRA VIRGIN
  • 1 large YELLOW ONION, sliced
  • SEA SALT AND BLACK PEPPER, TO TASTE
  • 8 slices CRUSTY WHEAT or SEED BREAD, BATARD or BAGUETTE (about 10 oz)
  • 4 oz WHITE CHEDDAR CHEESE, ORGANIC
  • 4 tsp DIJON MUSTARD
  • 3/4 GRANNY SMITH APPLE, sliced (16 slices)
  • 3 oz PROSCIUTTO DI SAN DANIELE, (1 package)
  • 4 tsp HONEY, pure or raw
  • 1/4 cup WALNUTS, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp FRESH THYME, optional

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add sliced onions.Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and continue sautéing until golden brown and caramelized, about 10 additional minutes (stir occasionally).  Turn heat off and let onions set in hot pan.

2. Preheat 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice bread into 8 diagonal slices,

and slice cheese into 16 pieces. Spread 1/2 tsp dijon mustard and 2 slices (1/2 oz) of cheddar on each piece of bread. Bake for 4-5 minutes, or until cheese melts and bread is toasted. Then top with an even layer of caramelized onions,

two apple slices,

1 slice of Prosciutto di San Daniele,

and sprinkle of black pepper. Return to oven and bake 3-4 minutes, or until the all ingredients are heated through.

3. Place warm crostini on a large platter and top each with 1/2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, 1/2 tsp drizzled honey, and a few fresh thyme leaves, if desired. Makes 8 delicious crostini.

VARIATIONS: Serve 2 crostini as an open face sandwich for a meal with a bowl of soup.  A fancy grilled cheese!

NUTRITION INFO PER SERVING (1 crostini): 210 calories, 10g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 15mg cholesterol, 21g carb, 3g fiber, 7g sugar, 10g protein

*Information sources for Prosciutto di San Daniele: http://www.prosciuttosandaniele.it/home_prosciuttosandaniele.php?n=3&l=en & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosciutto

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