Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baked goat cheese dip with caramelized onions and California figs

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Figs, caramelized onions and warm goat cheese = YUM (photos: Trent Lanz)
Here's why I decided to make this baked goat cheese dip with figs and caramelized onions when fellow food blogger Melissa Lanz (www.wellprepped.com) and her charming family came over for dinner last weekend:
  1. It was chilly and I wanted something warm and cozy.
  2. I'd baked fresh bread and wanted something luscious and creamy to spread on it.
  3. Nothing is more welcoming for guests than the smell of frying onions.
  4. The day before I'd received a package from the California Fig Advisory Board containing 16 POUNDS (yes, you read that right) of delicious dried figs.
Now I know I've told you about my love affair with fresh figs (and the resulting fig cake with almonds, fig goat cheese pie, and fresh fig salad with feta cheese). Dried figs, however, are another matter. Where fresh figs taste light and barely sweet, dried figs are sticky and chewy, a little gritty from the tiny seeds inside. I hadn't spent a lot of time with dried figs.

I decided to start with this recipe from the California Figs website. It couldn't be easier: You crumble goat cheese in the bottom of a baking dish, then saute some onions. Add chopped figs plumped in a little sherry and spread the whole mixture over the goat cheese. You pop it into the oven and everything comes together. It's a little messy when you scoop it on slices of bread, but the right kind of messy. The kind that makes you want to lick every little crevice of your hand.

Keep your antennae up and check back in a day or so, because the California Fig Advisory Board is going to send one lucky reader a heap o' dried California figs too. Giveaway starts soon....

Yep, those are my chubby fingers holding the bread
Baked goat cheese with caramelized onions and Mission figs
(from the California Figs website)
  • 2 pounds goat cheese
  • 14 dried California Mission figs, sliced (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 baguettes sliced, for dipping
Preheat oven to 350° F. Crumble goat cheese into an oven-safe dish and set aside.

In a small pot, combine figs and sherry with enough water to barely cover figs. Place pot over high heat and bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat and let figs plump while onions are cooking.

Pour olive oil into a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove plumped figs from the pot, leaving behind any of the liquid. Add figs to cooked onions, stir to combine and then spoon over goat cheese.

Place dish into top half of oven for 20 minutes, until edges begin to bubble. Remove and serve immediately with sliced baguettes.

Note: Thanks to the California Fig Advisory Board for providing the figs used in this recipe.

16 comments:

Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels said...

OH MY WORD I seriously think I'm in love!!! I love love love figs and would never of thought to put them in a baked dip! Thank you so much for the recipe, it looks beyond delicious. :)

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

I haven't had one fig this whole season. this must come to an end now!

Erika said...

@Lindsey - you will love this.

@Da - that's the great thing about the dried figs - they're available all the time!

Maria said...

Love this recipe! I could eat it all day long!

BonnieBanters said...

Goat cheese and figs, what a spectacular combination - would make a great conversation and interactive appetizer during this holiday season!

Rhonda said...

I've never had much experience with figs, but this recipe looks so simple and sounds fabulous. Next gathering, this is what I'm making!

eatingRD said...

holy moly, what could be better than creamy goat cheese with figs and fried onions mmmmmm wow, 16 pounds?! Can't wait to see what else you'll be making!

Monet said...

I have a huge bag of figs in my pantry that I received from the Fig Advisory board a few months ago. This recipe sounds so amazing! I couldn't agree more with your reasoning for making this! Caramelized onions smell so very good! Thank you for sharing, Erika. I hope you have a blessed day with your family and friends tomorrow!

Erika said...

I ran out of goat cheese and decided to mix it with cream cheese instead this time - and I also added a little cream. The goat cheese by itself was a little crumbly, as goat cheese can be when it cools down. I'll be interested to see how the addition of cream cheese changes it. I'll let you know!

@Monet - if you're looking for something else to do with those figs, I also made this fig/chestnut stuffing from the California Figs website, although I added a little bacon to it:

http://californiafigs.com/recipe.php?id=99

Will let you know how everyone liked it today!

Diane {Created by Diane} said...

oh that looks so delicious, you had me at goat cheese, but then pushed it over the edge and I'm go glad :) wish I could have some right now!

Nancy said...

Easy and delicious.. what more could you want from an appetizer!!

I love dried figs and use them fairly often - just poached some in some pomegranate juice and used them in a salad... oh my was that good!!

Can't wait to make this dip - perfect for winter!!

lindsaymeyer said...

This sounds heavenly. Bookmarking for consideration in the Christmas Eve repertoire!

Erika said...

@Lindsay - yes, this would be terrific for Christmas Eve!

Jason said...

I'm curious if there is a way to make this dish and then transport it. Can you make it, place it in the dish, and then do the final oven heating later, or is the magic lost?

Erika said...

Jason - absolutely. In fact, I did that both times, assembled it ahead of time, refrigerated, and pulled it out to bake it right before guests arrived. Still lots of magic!

Jason said...

Brilliant! Thanks so much, Erika. I cannot wait to make this. It sounds delicious.

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