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Dining Tip: Creamy Goat Cheese Summer Party Dip

Sprinkle this baked dish with roasted figs and olive tapenade, and pair with a full-bodied, racy Chenin Blanc
Photo by: Andrew Purcell
You won't feel guilty for claiming first dip.

Posted: August 8, 2017

Note: This recipe originally appeared in the August 31, 2017, issue of Wine Spectator, "Where to Drink Well."

Recipe courtesy of chef Gayle Pirie of Foreign Cinema in San Francisco

Baked Goat Cheese with Figs

• 3/4 cup Picholine olives, rinsed, pitted and chopped
• 1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
• 2 tablespoons rinsed capers, chopped
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon dried lavender
• 12 thin slices baguette
• 2 fig or radicchio leaves (optional)
• 5 ounces fresh, soft goat cheese
• 3 to 4 ripe Mission figs, stems removed, halved or quartered
• 12 Belgian endive leaves (from 2 bulbs)
• 1 fennel bulb, trimmed of any outer blemishes and sliced into 1/2-inch rings

1. In a small bowl, combine the olives, garlic, capers and lemon zest. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, stirring to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Preheat the broiler to 450° F, with a rack positioned 6 to 10 inches from the heat. Combine the lavender and 1/2 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until the lavender perfumes the oil, about 10 minutes. Set aside; do not strain.

3. Lightly toast the bread under the broiler 1 or 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

4. Place the fig or radicchio leaves, if using, on the bottom of a low-rimmed 6- to 8-inch cazuela or ovenproof baking dish. Press the goat cheese into a flat, even disk, about 1/2-inch thick, and transfer to the dish. Scatter the figs on top.

5. Place the dish under the broiler, checking frequently after the first 3 or 4 minutes, until cheese has puffed up slightly and is beginning to brown in spots, 10 to 12 minutes.

6. Place the hot cheese dish on a serving platter. Spoon 1 tablespoon or more of the olive tapenade over the cheese and figs, and drizzle them with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the lavender oil. Arrange the endive leaves, fennel rings and baguette toast around the edges of the dish. Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer.

Recommended wine pairings

Domaine Huët Vouvray Sec Le Haut-Lieu 2015 (93, $32)

Champalou Vouvray 2015 (91, $20)

Indaba Chenin Blanc Western Cape 2016 (88, $12)

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