My stay in northern California this summer was even more memorable thanks to the abundance of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. While visiting the Golden State, I indulged in sweet meiwa kumquats and tiny leaves of sharp, peppery wild arugula. At Chez Panisse, the famous restaurant in Berkeley, I enjoyed the perfect raspberry, with flavor beyond imagination. Finally, just before I headed home to New York City, tart-sweet Gravenstein apples, native only to northern California, came into season.
Gravensteins are a delicious example of the many apple varieties available across the country right now. Seeking inspiration for a new way to enjoy them, I turned to Alice Medrich, a San Francisco chef known for creative desserts. Her apple carpaccio, a treat low in sugar and fat and memorably delicious, provided the perfect model for this week’s Apple Spice Crostini.
Creating a carpaccio (traditionally an appetizer of thinly sliced beef or veal) from apples is unexpected and surprisingly simple. The apples are prepared in the microwave, a technique that cooks them quickly and helps to preserve water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and folate. While this dish is a perfect way to highlight fresh, farm stand apples, the crostini can be made any time of year using supermarket varieties like Gala or Braeburn.
The rest of this recipe is as easy as making cinnamon toast. The robust, whole-wheat Italian bread used for the crostini compliments the lightly glazed apple perfectly. And the pairing of warm fruit and spice is a comforting combination, whether served as a light breakfast or a sweet afternoon snack.
Apple Cinnamon Crostini – 4 servings
1 Gala or Braeburn apple
1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
2 tsp. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 (1/2-inch) slices whole-wheat Italian bread, cut diagonally
4 tsp. unsalted butter
Peel and core apple. Cut in half vertically. Place each half cut side down on work surface and cut crosswise into even 1/8 inch slices. Keep slices together in shape of apple.
Set cut apple halves on small, microwaveable plate, still holding slices together. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar over each half and cover plate loosely with wax paper. Place plate in microwave, keeping paper tucked under plate, and microwave, about 45 seconds. Remove and let apple slices sit covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon.
Toast bread for crostini. Spread each slice of toast with 1 teaspoon butter and sprinkle one-fourth of cinnamon sugar evenly over each. Cover bread with apples, placed diagonally. Depending on width of bread, ends of some slices may hang over sides. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 160 calories, 5 g total fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 25 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 170 mg sodium.
“Something Different” is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.
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