When I was shopping for Christmas Eve dinner, I spied a tempting display of organic dried fruits. I succumbed to the call of black mission figs, and brought home a large bag. When the time came for holiday entertaining, I turned to the figs.
Several months ago, I’d read a recipe for fig and olive tapenade. I love tapenade, a Provençal paste of black olives, anchovies, capers, herbs, garlic, lemon, and olive oil, so decided to pair it with my bounty of figs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember where I’d read about fig tapenade, a distressing complication of owning too many cookbooks.
I did find a few online recipes for tapenade with figs, but either the ingredient list or procedure didn’t appeal to me, so I created my own version. I started with a basic tapenade, left out the anchovies, and added figs and a healthy dose of wild thyme. The verdict: delicious!
[UPDATE July 2012: Since writing this, eatyourbooks.com has come into existence. Eatyourbooks is a subscription indexing service for cookbooks. I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I just checked my library on eatyourbooks for fig tapenade and the site found 7 recipes – all different than mine.
I made my version last week for a very large wedding reception, and served it two ways, both of which were quite popular: plain in a bowl with good crackers and as part of a canape served on trays. The canape had a base of toasted baguette, a layer of Garlicky Goat Cheese, then a layer of Fig Tapenade, topped with a thin slice of radish, and garnished with fresh chives.]