This sweet and savory apple tart is both comforting and sophisticated. It incorporates a mellow mix of sweet roasted apples and shallots, dressed with thyme and jazzed up with tangy blue cheese.

It’s also just the sort of lovely first course you can look forward to enjoying during the new Chef’s Menu Monday wine pairing dinner series of the new season here at Marcello’s Ocean Grille.

The new dinner series will kick off on Monday, Oct. 18.  Stay tuned for the dazzling and enticing menu in early October, just a few weeks away!

Bon Appétit! Chef Bettina

Roasted Apple, Shallot and Blue Cheese Tart

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
(2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
2 ¼ pounds apples, cored, quartered and sliced 1/4-inch thick
¾ pound shallots, peeled, trimmed, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Leaves from 5  thyme stems
¾ cup crumbled blue cheese
Flaky sea salt or course kosher salt

Place 3/4 cup lukewarm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast and sugar over water. Let stand until frothy, about 5 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk together both flours, cornmeal and 8 grams (1 3/4 teaspoons) salt. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; stir in yeast mixture and 1/3 cup oil until mixture is combined. If the dough seems dry, add a little more water.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until dough is smooth and elastic, about 7 to 10 minutes. Or, knead in a mixer or food processor fit with the dough blade for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rest at room temperature until dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

While dough rises, heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together apples, shallots, 1/4 cup oil, 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt, the black pepper and thyme. Spread onto two large baking sheets. Roast, tossing occasionally, until mixture is tender and golden, about 30 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet. Punch down dough and transfer to baking sheet. Using a rolling pin or your fingers, roll or stretch dough to make an even layer about 3/16-inch thick. Scatter apple-shallot mixture over crust. Scatter cheese on top. Drizzle with oil and season with flaky sea salt and black pepper. Transfer pan to oven and bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is just melted, 17 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly, then cut into squares and serve.

*Bettina Tolin is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin.  She has cooked in the kitchens of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida. She is currently the Executive Chef and owner of Marcello’s overlooking the historic lighthouse in Port Isabel.  Marcello’s Ocean Grille & Spirits was recently written up in Texas Monthly magazine as the new trending restaurant for dinner and brunch in the South Padre Island area.