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Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese

Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese


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Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped stemmed dried Calimyrna figs
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 5.5-ounce logs soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), each cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut halves
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
  • Assorted breads and/or crackers

Recipe Preparation

  • Combine chopped figs and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Mix in olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, and chopped thyme. Season tapenade to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.

  • Arrange overlapping cheese rounds in circle in center of medium platter. Stir chopped walnuts into tapenade; spoon into center of cheese circle. Garnish with walnut halves and thyme sprigs, if desired. Serve with breads and/or crackers.

Recipe by Mary Corpening Barber, Sara Corpening Whiteford,Reviews Section

Salted sugared spiced™

Ever since I discovered the tangy, creamy taste of goat cheese, I have been immediately drawn to any recipe that calls for it as an ingredient. And if there isn't a recipe using it, I find a use for it. I love goat cheese on scrambled eggs, on roasted asparagus, on pasta, and in salads. Thank goodness goat cheese is now so readily available in the grocery store so I don't have to drive far to buy some or wait for the cheesemaker at a weekend Farmer's market.
So when I discovered a recipe for a fig based tapenade served with goat cheese in a Bon Appetit magazine many, many years ago, I knew it was one that I had to make. From the first bite of this tapenade I was in love, if there is such a thing as being in love with a food. The combination of the figs, olives, and capers along with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme and walnuts is absolutely heavenly. Then topped over a sliced baguette spread with softened goat cheese, this tapenade will make you think you have actually died and gone to heaven. This is food for the Gods.

This morning when I went to my favorite market to pick up a package of dried Calimyrna figs there wasn't a package to be found, or least that is what I thought. I first looked in the section with dried fruits, no luck. I then went to the produce section as containers or bags of dried fruits can often be found there, again no luck. So I asked the produce manager if he had any. He went over to a rack containing packages of dried fruit only to tell me that they must be out, however, he would look in the back but returned empty handed. Not certain if Turkish figs were the same as Calimyrna figs, I started to do a google search using my phone (ah, if I only had an iPhone where I could ask my questions and have them answered instantaneously). Between the two of us, I entered every possible question to get the answer I wanted, but to no avail. So I thanked the produce manager for his time and continued to do some other shopping. As I was shopping on the other side of the store, I looked up and there was the produce manager holding a bag of the dried Calimyrna figs. After making a small gasp, I didn't know whether to hug him or high five him. I went with the high five. Was this luck I wondered, the finding of this last bag of figs on the rack he had first searched? Maybe, but his persistence was my good fortune today.
Tapenade was originally a dish consisting of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. Its name comes from the Provencal word for capers, tapenas, and is a food often served with bread as an appetizer. There are so many different variations of recipes for tapenade, however, without a doubt, the addition of figs and walnuts and the omission of anchovies makes it divinely delicious. If I only took French in high school instead of Spanish, I might have had my first taste of tapenade way back when on a day when everyone would be asked to bring in a French food to serve in class.


Fig and Olive Tapenade Crostini with Walnuts

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A couple weeks ago my mom and stepdad were in town to see Foreigner in concert. They made a day trip out of it so they could see us, along with my sister and her family, before their show. After our pretty substantial family lunch, they only needed a light snack before the show, so I decided to throw together some crostini to serve them.

Silly me, I got ingredients for my two favorite kinds, but only had time to make the double tomato bruschetta before they scarfed them down and headed out the door.

Well, that left me with all the ingredients for this fig and olive tapenade and an extra loaf of bread.

So Mike and I made a date out of it last weekend. I made the fig and olive tapenade a couple days before, got all the accouterments for a cheese and charcuterie board (more on that next week), so all I had to do was toast the bread, assemble the crostini, and pour the wine before our date night in.

This crostini is one of my absolute favorite appetizers and I’ve been making it for probably a decade or more. I got the recipe from Allrecipes.com and I loved it so much I put it in my own little recipe book of personal favorites.

It’s sweet, tart, and a little spicy in the most harmonious way possible. And since it uses dried figs, you can make it year-round. I like to use fresh kalamata olives when possible, but if you use jarred ones, you can actually have most of these ingredients on hand in your pantry, you know, for gourmet-appetizer-emergencies!

You basically rehydrate the figs by simmering them in a little water until they are soft and the liquid is thick and syrupy. The syrup also helps to bind the tapenade together.

I used fresh rosemary and thyme from my front-porch herb garden, but if you don’t have an herb garden I’d still recommend buying some fresh, especially the rosemary. I find that dried rosemary stays woody even when cooked, while the fresh leaves are tender enough to add flavor without disrupting the texture of whatever you’re making.

I finely dice the figs and olives, but you can also pulse it in a food processor a couple times for a smoother texture once the tapenade is put together.

This is an ideal party appetizer because you can (and should) make it in advance, and the flavor combo is sure to blow people away! You can either pre-assemble some crostini, or for an even easier preparation you can spoon the tapenade over a block of cream cheese and serve with a knife and crostini on the side.

Any loaf of white French or Italian bread will do, but I thought this honey-wheat loaf would be a great pairing for the sweet fig and olive tapenade.

And if you’d like to kick it up another notch on the fanciness scale, you can use goat cheese instead of cream cheese.

It comes out a nice rich velvety brown, and a sprig of fresh rosemary is the perfect garnish to give a little contrast of color.

Next time you need to make an appetizer for a party, dinner party, or date night in, give this fig and olive tapenade a shot! It might just become your favorite too!


Fig and Goat Cheese Bites in Phyllo Cups

Fig and Goat Cheese Bites in Phyllo Cups – These easy, three ingredient appetizers are quick and easy, and taste amazing! Serve these easy appetizers at your next Christmas party, New Years Eve bash or any other party!

The holidays are here, and you know what that means? Food and parties! And party food. Throwing a party can be stressful, but don’t stress about the appetizers! These Fig and Goat Cheese Bites are festive and fancy – but easier than you think! With only three ingredients and ten minutes, you can be serving these cute goat cheese appetizers and wow your guests.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know I am a fan of appetizers – especially appetizers that are easy to throw together but are delicious and impressive. Like these Bacon Wrapped Dates, or these Cranberry Brie Mini Tarts.

I’m a big fan of using these mini phyllo cups, because they are so easy to use and they make super cute and delicious appetizers. Not only did I use them in my Cranberry Brie Mini Tarts, but I also used them in these Pomegranate Goat Cheese Mini Tarts and these Easy Mini Baklava Cups. You can find these pre made phyllo cups in the freezer section at the grocery store.


20 Recipes to Make the Most of Goat Cheese

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Is there a cheese more versatile than goat cheese? It’s got a pretty good case. It’s creamy but holds its shape when crumbled, so you can spread it or sprinkle it on for added richness and depth. It also goes with everything, from pastas to salads to sandwiches. Here’s how to start cooking more with this all-purpose cheese.

Farinata with Summer Squash, Goat Cheese, and Preserved Lemon

While these savory chickpea pancakes are delicious plain, they also make an excellent canvas for roasted summer vegetables like zucchini. Get the recipe for Farinata with Summer Squash, Goat Cheese, and Preserved Lemon »

Roast Chicken Pan Bagnat with Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese

This hearty twist on the classic Provençal pressed sandwich pan bagnat combines black olive tapenade, goat cheese, roasted chicken, and thinly sliced vegetables. Make it at least two to three hours before you plan to serve it to really let the flavors marry. Get the recipe for Roast Chicken Pan Bagnat with Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese »

Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles

This layered no-cook appetizer from former test kitchen assistant Eliza Martin features a sweet core of dried apricot coated in tangy goat cheese and then rolled in a savory mixture of crushed pistachios and fresh herbs. The finger-friendly “truffles” can be made up to 2 days before serving and stored in the refrigerator, making them the perfect hors d’oeuvres for the busy host or hostess. Get the recipe for Goat Cheese and Apricot Truffles »

Radish and Cilantro Salad with Goat Cheese

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Goat Cheese Crostini with Fig-Olive Tapenade

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Mesclun Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Purslane and Herb Salad

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Goat Cheese and Strawberry Breakfast Tarts

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Goat Cheese and Olive Tapenade Sandwich

The New York City restaurant Penelope serves a cult-favorite sandwich called the John Oliver: fresh goat cheese and a generous serving of kalamata olive tapenade together on (yes, really) toasted cranberry walnut bread. It’s an uncanny pairing: sweet, nutty, briny, and creamy all at once. Get the recipe for Goat Cheese and Olive Tapenade Sandwich »

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These Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Honey are one of my favorite simple summer appetizers. Using fresh figs, goat cheese, honey and pepper, these are an easy but elegant starter or snack.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today! This Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Honey is one of my favorite things to make when the fleeting fig season hits. You may remember I made something similar last winter, my Fig, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto Bruschetta, which is a great alternative when figs aren’t in season. I have learned over the years that when I see figs in the store, I buy them. It doesn’t matter what I was planning on making for dinner, I buy the figs and I use them ASAP. Because I have learned that if you pass figs up when you see them, you might completely miss the chance to get your hands on fresh figs until the next year. In fact that happened to me last year! And I vowed, Never Again.

I started making this easy appetizer a few years ago, and there have been more than a few nights where a tray of this Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Honey was dinner – along with some crisp, cold wine, of course. These are so easy to make, but also seem special and elegant. There is something about figs that just make everything seem fancy. I was so inspired while I was photographing this recipe, I could not stop taking pictures of them! You may have noticed that if you follow me on instagram or snapchat. But figs are just so beautiful, and I think there is something about them being so hard to find that makes them especially alluring.

To make these Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini with Honey, you only need a few ingredients. I added pepper to these to give them a little kick. It might seem weird, but it is just a sprinkle, so they aren’t really spicy, it just adds a little something extra. Try it, you might be surprised! A good french baguette, creamy goat cheese, fresh figs, of course, and a drizzle of sweet honey. Pop them under the broiler for a few minutes, and you have an elegant summer appetizer that everyone will love! Or you can just eat them all yourself, I won’t judge.

I was so inspired while doing this photo shoot that I took a million photos. I tried to whittle them down, but I couldn’t just eliminate all of them! So if you aren’t into the photos, just scroll down to the recipe and get figgy. Otherwise, here are some of my favorite photos.



Easy Party Appetizer – Fig and Olive Tapenade

‘Tis the season for holiday parties – both hosting and guesting. Conventional wisdome says you’re never supposed to arrive at a party empty-handed, and while a bottle of champagne is always a safe choice, if it’s a casual get-together, I like to ring to the host or hostess and offer to bring an easy party appetizer. This fig and olive tapenade with rosemary and goat cheese is one of my favorites. Vegetarian, great served at room temperature, easy to make-ahead (and gluten free if you serve it with the right crackers) – this ticks all the boxes of ideal hors d’oeuvre for the holiday party.

I got this recipe from my aunt, who brought it to my birthday party this year. It was so good everyone asked for the recipe, and I tweaked it a bit according to my own tastes (and ingredients I had on hand). Tapenade is traditionally a Provencal dish made with olives, capers and anchovies – it’s good, but very salty. This tapenade tempers the saltiness with the sweetness of dried figs and some tannins and crunch from walnuts. It’s a looser, coarser mixture than most tapenades, but the variations in flavor and texture make it that much more satisfying and addictive.

This is wonderful served the way I’ve shown it hear – as an easy party appetizer with goat cheese bread and crackers. But the tapenade alone would also make a wonderful addition to sandwiches – I can imagine it paired with brie in a fancy grilled cheese, or as a complement to turkey or ham. In a little jar (with instructions to refrigerate), it would even make a great hostess gift!


Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese - Recipes

Spices, ingredients and recipes are adventurous travelers. They may originate somewhere and then you would be surprised how far they can get. This is one of those wandering recipes: featuring figs, olives and capers, this recipe could be at home in Morocco, Sicily or Spain — or all three!

Easy and fast, this tapenade is wonderful served with manchego or a soft goat cheese on crostini. Or even over grilled chicken or fish.

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped dried Calimyrna figs
1/3 cup water
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon drained and rinsed capers, chopped
1 ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
salt and pepper

Preparation:

Combine figs and water in a heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Fig, Olive and Walnut Tapenade

  • 1 cup chopped stemmed dried Calimyrna figs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 5.5-ounce logs soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), each cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut halves
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
  • Assorted breads and/or crackers (we bought pita and toasted them to make pita chips)

Combine chopped figs and 1/3 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Mix in olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, and chopped thyme. Season tapenade to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Arrange overlapping cheese rounds in circle in center of medium platter. Stir chopped walnuts into tapenade spoon into center of cheese circle. Garnish with walnut halves and thyme sprigs, if desired. Serve with breads, crackers or pita chips.

Wine Recommendations

There are SO many wines which can go with this dish. It is a tad sweet due to the naturally sweet olives and the balsamic, so keep that in mind while pairing the wine: a Sauvignon Blanc is too acidic, and a Riesling is too sweet to compliment the dish’s flavors. We recommend a champagne or sparkling wine or a dry rosé: each would cut the sweetness of the figs and the richness of the cheese. For fun, try a more full-bodied yet bright white wine, like a Spanish Godello or a Grenache Blanc.

If pairing with a red, try a wine that is lighter and high in acidity, such as a Grenache.


21 Fig Recipes to Make Right Now

Been scouting fig trees lately? Seen pints of figs at the market? It might be a short one, but right now figs are in season! Revered since Greek and Roman times, it’s no surprise that the fig is a popular fruit they boast both antioxidants and fiber.

Here’s a selection of favorite fig recipes you’ll want to bookmark right away!

1. The simplest thing you can do with fresh figs? Drizzle honey on top and roast them in the oven, at 400°F for about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Sip on the final days of summer with a Fresh Fig Mojito.

3. Instead of buying energy bars, make a batch of Fig and Almond Energy Bites.

4. Top off gluten free walnut crackers with a fig tapenade

5. For a beautiful round of bread, make Fig, Olive Oil and Sea Salt Challah

6. Roasted Feta Cheese with Fig-Thyme Compote is an appetizer that’s sure to please a crowd.

7. Switch up your breakfast with a bowl of Fresh Fig Greek Yogurt.

8. Grilling this weekend? Try a burger with figs, caramelized onions and goat cheese.

9. Have a sweet craving? This Fig and Ginger Olive Oil Quinoa Cake will satisfy you without making you feel guilty.

10. Fig chutney is perfect for serving as an appetizer, with grilled vegetables or roasted meat.

11. Vegan and 100% raw, this Raw Fig Cheesecake is beautiful, delicious and good for you.

12. Simple and easy to make Raw Fig Bars with Almonds are an excellent afternoon snack.

13. Celebrate happy hour with a Fig Old-Fashioned.

14. Use whole wheat or brown rice pasta for this Fig and Walnut Spaghetti dish that’s sure to become a new favorite.

15. Combine port wine and figs to make one dynamic popsicle.

16. It’s hard to turn down a batch of fig and dark chocolate scones for a Sunday brunch. Especially when they’re gluten free.

17. Two of my favorite ingredients in one dish: Kale, Fig and Halloumi Salad.

18. You can’t go wrong with a basic Fig-Balsamic Vinaigrette.

19. There is something about the nostalgia of Fig Newtons. But why not add pomegranate seeds and port to the filling? Make this grown-up (and gluten-free) version when you’re having a craving.

20. Figs and goat cheese were meant together. Put them together in the oven in this Roasted Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza recipe.

21. Forget basil, make some Fig-Walnut Pesto.

Do you know of other fig recipes we should add to this list? Share them in a comment!


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