Makes 12 sandwiches (4 servings)
Serve these little open-faced appetizer sandwiches on cool evenings when the robust flavors seem especially appropriate. For a simple lunch or dinner, pair them with tomato soup and a green salad tossed with a light vinaigrette.
For the bread
12 slices of cocktail rye bread
For the topping
½ cup cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
½ cup diced red-skinned apple
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts, preferably toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon (or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon)
To prepare the bread, adjust the oven broiler rack to 4 to 5 inches from the heating element; preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; broil until the tops are firm, about 2 minutes.
To make the topping, stir together the cream cheese and blue cheese in a medium bowl; take care not to mash the blue cheese. Gently stir in the remaining ingredients.
To assemble the sandwiches, top each toasted bread slice with about 1 tablespoon of the blue cheese-apple mixture.
Serve at room temperature. If you prefer, broil the sandwiches for about 2 minutes, or until the topping is warm, then serve immediately.
This topping will keep for up to 2 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and assemble the sandwiches just before serving.
Substitute ½ cup halved red seedless grapes for the apple; serve at room temperature (do not broil).