Dried figs pep up dips and spreads. Cream cheese has long been the base for many decorative spreads, but soft goat cheese has crept up in popularity.
Serve with crackers or toasts.
Make Ahead: The tapenade can be made up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated.
- 1 cup chopped dried figs
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup chopped pitted black olives
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (see NOTE)
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped green olives (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Two 5.5-ounce logs soft goat cheese, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
Cover the figs with the water in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat to just below a boil and cook until the figs are soft and the water has nearly evaporated, adjusting the heat so the water is bubbling gently, about 7 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the figs to a medium bowl. Stir in the black olives, oil, vinegar, thyme, pecans and the green olives, if using. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the fig mixture onto a small platter and add rounds of the goat cheese.
NOTE: To toast the pecans, spread them on a baking sheet and place in a 350-degree oven, shaking the sheet occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully; nuts burn quickly.
Adapted from "Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking," by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart (Gibbs Smith, 2012).
Tested by Jeffrey Donald.
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