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Scrumptious Holiday Appetizer

This appetizer is addicting!  When visiting a former co-worker of John's in Charlotte, NC. in October, she served us this wonderfully delicious appetizer.  She was kind enough to furnish me with the recipe.  I believe it is a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa's cookbook. If you want to impress and delight your guests, this is the one recipe you will want to make.  Let me know how it goes!  Or, better yet, you could invite me to your party!  ;-)

Dried Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese Croutons

This recipe is a twist on the Provencal classic olive tapenade.  The sweetness of the fig and creamy goat cheese provides a wonderful contrast to the salty capers and olives.  As an alternative, serve the tepenade with pork, chicken or lamb. 

Yield: 4 servings (20 Crostini's)

1 cup dried figs, such as Calimyrna, stemmed and chopped
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1 T Capers, rinsed well & drained, salt-cured
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons minced thyme

1 large baguette, cut into 24  (1/2 inch thick) diagonal slices
2 T extra virgin olive oil
51/2 ounces soft goat cheese, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (toast at 300 degrees for 15 minutes)
20 fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

To prepare tapenade:  In a heavy medium saucepan, over a medium-high heat, add the figs and water.  Cook until the liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 7 minutes.  Transfer to a small bowl, cool slightly.

In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, ad the figs, olives and capers.  Pulse the processor a few times until the mixture is chopped, about 5 times.  Drizzle in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to form a paste.  Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl; add the thyme; taste and season with salt and pepper.

To prepare crostinis: Preheat broiler and arrange baguette slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Brush tops with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Toast until golden brown on top.  

To assembles  Remove baguette slices from the oven and spread each with 2 to 3 teaspoons of fig tapenade using a small spatula.  Top each slice with about a teaspoon of goat cheese and top with 1 to 2 teaspoons of chopped walnuts and sprinkle with fresh thyme sprigs.  Serve immediately.

Tune in tomorrow for another Christmas Delight!

Christmas hugs to all of you!  Debbie

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