Recipe by Vitaly Paley, Paley’s Place and Imperial Restaurant

I’ve served this decadent variation of that diner favorite the tuna melt as part of an elegant lunch or cut in bite-sized pieces as an hors d’oeuvre. It is definitely fun, not at all fussy or difficult. A goodquality purchased mayonnaise will do nicely here, but if you like, try homemade aioli (recipe follows).

We use an Italian sheep’s milk cheese, Boschetto al Tartufo, for its intense truffle taste and good melting qualities. Swiss Gruyère, which is easy to find, works as well. If fresh truffles are not in season, substitute frozen ones. Truffle butter is available at specialty food stores or online.

4 thick slices brioche or challah

4 teaspoons truffle butter, melted

1/2 pound Oregon Dungeness crabmeat, squeezed dry and picked over

2 ounces fresh Oregon black truffle, brushed clean and coarsely chopped

1 apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Generous dash of Tabasco

2 tablespoons finely minced sweet red onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup aioli

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces truffle cheese, such as Boschetto al Tartufo, shredded (about 1 cup shredded)

Preheat the broiler. Brush one side of the brioche slices with the truffle butter and set on a baking sheet, buttered side up. Toast the bread until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove the toasts and turn the oven temperature to 400°F.

In a bowl, mix the crabmeat with the chopped truffle, sliced apple, Tabasco, onion, parsley, and lime juice. Fold in the aioli to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.

Top the toasts, buttered side down, with the crab salad and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake in the upper third of the oven until the crab salad has warmed through and the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.