Serve this fig and goat cheese appetizer at your holiday party and everyone will gather around. The intensely flavorful combo of tangy goat cheese, caramelized onions and sherry-steeped figs is served warm, spread onto baguette slices or crackers. It's an easy recipe that can be completely assembled a day in advance. Party food at its best!
I love a party dish you can make ahead, and this one can be fully prepared the day before. Ideally, assemble it in an oven-safe serving dish. Store it overnight in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. Bring it to room temperature and pop it in the oven 20 minutes before your guests arrive. When the party starts, it will be warm and ready to enjoy.
How to Make this Fig and Goat Cheese Appetizer
- Dried mission figs are sliced and boiled in a pot with dry sherry. the pot is removed from heat and the figs are left to steep in the hot sherry, which plumps them and infuses them with flavor.
- Meanwhile, sliced onions, garlic and fresh rosemary are sautéed in olive oil for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and caramelized. Then the sherry-infused figs are stirred into the onion mixture.
- Two logs of goat cheese are broken apart and placed into an oven-proof serving dish. The fig and onion mixture is then heaped on top and the whole thing goes into a 350ºF oven for 20 minutes.
You can set the baking dish out on a trivet, surrounded with baguette slices, and let everyone serve themselves, or prepare fig and goat cheese bruschetta and pass them around on a serving tray. However you serve this dish, it will be devoured and enjoyed by all! If any of the fig and goat cheese mixture is left over the next day (unlikely!) spread it over a pizza crust for delicious fig and goat cheese pizza.
Is National Fig Week a Legit Holiday?
It's worth mentioning that when I first began to write this post, I saw on Facebook that it was National Fig Week, and I was psyched to have a newsworthy hook for sharing my awesome fig and goat cheese appetizer. However, as I typed the words, "this is National Fig Week", I stopped to ponder the whole concept of a national week dedicated to... figs. Setting aside my blog post, I started researching: How does a food holiday get determined? How official is it? Is there some sort of bureaucracy you have to endure or papers to file to create a food holiday or can anyone call anything National Anything Week?
The answer to that last question is "yes." There is no law preventing anyone from naming their own holiday and many of the National food days we read about are basically clever marketing campaigns. There are some legit special food holidays though, such as National Ice Cream Month, July, and National Ice Cream Day, the third Sunday in July. These were proclaimed by Ronald Reagan and written into public law on July 2, 1984. One other official source for these types of special days and weeks is Chase's Calendar. a McGraw Hill publication that has been listing special events and holidays since 1957. Even if something starts out as a marketing campaign, getting it listed with Chase's Calendar is almost as good as getting a Presidential proclamation.
Marketing campaigns or not, I like the specially designated food weeks and holidays. They remind us what's in season and inspire us to cook something new. If you're interested, you can see all the special American food holidays here, and by the way there's one for every day of the year.
You may also like these party appetizers:
Amazing Fig and Goat Cheese Appetizer
Baked creamy goat cheese with sweet caramelized onions and fruity figs atop sliced baguette or crackers make a perfect party appetizer
Adapted from a recipe by Party Line with The Hearty Boys.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: 40 appetizer portions 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 2 11-ounce logs of goat cheese
- 14 dried mission figs, woody stems cut off, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices.
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 large Spanish onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 10 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press or finely minced
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (3-4 inches long)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Baguettes, thinly sliced, or crackers
- For gluten-free, serve with gluten-free crackers, endive leaves, or sliced pears tossed in lemon water to prevent browning.
Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Crumble the goat logs into a small oven-safe baking vessel (ideally, something that can go from oven to table).
- Put sliced figs in a small saucepan along with the sherry and a little water, to cover. Bring to a boil and remove from heat, and let the figs steep while you sauté the onions. The dried figs will plump and absorb the flavor of the sherry.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, rosemary sprigs, salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring often, for 10-12 minutes, until onions are lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the figs to the onion mixture and stir through (the soaking liquid is not needed). Remove any thick woody rosemary stems. Let the onion mixture cool for ten minutes or so and then heap it on top of the goat cheese. At this point you can cover and refrigerate the dish for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to serve it, let it sit at room temp for ½ hour before continuing.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the cheese is hot and starting to bubble at the edges. Serve warm.
- To serve: Either set out the baking dish on a trivet with a serving utensil, surrounded by baguette slices or crackers; or make bruschetta by topping baguette slices or crostini with the fig and goat cheese mixture (see notes below, for a tip on making bruschetta).
Tip for making fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta: To make your bruschetta look pretty, spread the goat cheese on the bread first (scoop down below the fig-onion mixture with a small spoon), and then add some of the fig-onion mixture on top.
Keywords: Goat cheese and fig appetizer, Crostini with goat cheese and figs
Originally published November 10, 2012. Updated December 11, 2020 with a few new photos, clarifying details in the written post, a link to the oven-to-table baking dish, additional serving suggestions, and a tip for making fig and goat cheese bruschetta. Same delicious recipe!