Fig, Olive and Walnut Tapenade recipe

The appetizer was such a hit that I didn't even have time to take a photo before everyone had dug in! A nice testament to its deliciousness. 🙂

I can’t take credit for this dish: my husband made it as an appetizer for last night’s Mediterranean themed dinner at a friend’s house, and after finding out how simple the recipe was, I had to share.

While I slaved for three hours just PREPPING my moussaka, he whipped this dish out in the time it took mine to cook. Ouch. The only thing that made me feel better? Getting to enjoy this tasty app!

I highly recommend trying your hand at this dish. This recipe easily serves 12 people. Feel free to substitute pine nuts for the walnuts: they impart a nice flavor into the dish as well.

We found this recipe on epicurious, who stole it from a 2001 issue of Bon Appetit.


Fig, Olive and Walnut Tapenade

You will need:

  • 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. We recommend a champagne or sparkling wine, which cuts the sweetness, or a dry rose which does the same. A Sauvignon Blanc is too acidic, and a Riesling is too sweet to compliment the dish’s flavors.

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

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