Prior to this, my experience with figs was limited to Fig Newtons...and even those I haven't had since childhood! Recently, my mom paired fig jam with blue cheese and I enjoyed that combination, so when Ryan found this recipe for the fig and olive tapenade, I was eager to try it. My first bite of a dried fig surprised me, I think I was expecting it to taste like a date and it was much firmer and less sweet. In this recipe, the figs are boiled and then left to sit in the tapenade mixture, which I think changes their texture.
Maggie was the one who put this recipe together in preparation for our Cork & Fork dinner. It didn't take her more than fifteen minutes and we then left it overnight in the fridge. I was pleased with the presentation, but had no idea that the taste would knock my socks off. All of us oohed and aahed over the combination of goat cheese and the tapenade, which tasted like it belonged in a wine bar. It paired perfectly with the Potter's Crackers we bought at the market (if you can buy these somewhere near you, I HIGHLY recommend. We sampled several versions at the market and loved them all!).
This appetizer is perfect for parties! Make-ahead? Check! Makes a large batch? Check! Looks impressive? Check! Tastes amazing? DOUBLE Check!
Fig and Olive Tapenade
adapted from allrecipes.com
-1 cup chopped dried figs
-1/2 cup water
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp dried rosemary
-1 tsp dried thyme
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-2/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-salt & pepper, to taste
-1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
-1 (8 oz.) package goat cheese
1. Combine figs and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cooking until tender and liquid is reduced. Remove from heat and and stir in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, and cayenne.
2. Add olives and garlic and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to two days.
3. Unwrap goat cheese and place on a serving platter. Spoon tapenade over cheese and sprinkle with walnuts (I did this after taking the picture, which is why you don't see them above). Serve with baguette slices or crackers.