A simple, spectacular 5-minute appetizer made with fresh figs, goat cheese and maple walnuts. Sweet and salty! Wondering how to tell if a fig is ripe?
Is there anything more luscious than a fresh fig plucked from a tree? Yes, actually there is. These Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Maple Walnuts are an ultimate appetizer!
With more and more figs ripening on the trees in our yard every day, I've been looking for new ways to serve them. I love them in this Fresh Fig Arugula Salad with Blackberries, and this Honey Roasted Fig and Burrata Crostini, but today I just made a simple appetizer. These fresh figs topped with goat cheese and maple walnuts were quick to whip up and they made a healthy summer snack.
There is nothing quite like the unique flavour and texture of fresh figs. Smooth skin and sweet chewy flesh make fresh summer figs something to seek out and enjoy during their short season. And when topped with a dollop of salty goat cheese and sweet maple-glazed walnuts, their distinctive flavour is enhanced even more.
All you need to make this special appetizer are
- fresh figs
- creamy goat cheese
- easy maple-glazed walnuts (recipe here)
Tips for making this fresh fig appetizer
- There's no need to peel figs. Their skin is soft and completely edible.
- Several varieties of figs are available and their colours range from blackish-purple with pink flesh (Black Mission), purple skin and red flesh (Brown Turkey), greenish-yellow skin with amber flesh (Calimyrna) or green skin with pink flesh (Desert Sun).
- This recipe for fresh figs with goat cheese and maple walnuts takes only five minutes to prepare. Toss a small handful of chopped walnuts in a heated skillet with 2 teaspoons maple syrup, cook for a few minutes until caramelized, then remove from the heat and add a pinch of smoked sea salt.
- Slice the figs in half, top with goat cheese, sprinkle with the maple-glazed walnuts and serve.
How do you know if figs are ripe?
If you are picking figs from a tree, look for ones that are just starting to bend from the branch. They become heavy as they ripen, gravity works its magic and they begin to droop and move closer to the branch. They should give just a little when you apply pressure. If they're fully ripe (and therefore the tastiest they can be) a simple twist will remove them from the branch. If they begin to drip, it means they are so ripe that they can't hold their nectar and you are in for a taste treat. Get them quick before the wasps or birds beat you to them.
If you're buying figs in a market or store, look for those with smooth, unblemished skin. They should be firm but give a little with pressure. Avoid those that are soft and mushy or those that are too hard. They won't fully ripen if they've been picked too early.
How to store fresh figs
Figs have a very short shelf life. They're best picked when fully ripe. If they're picked too early, they will be hard and they won't ripen. Store them in a single layer in the fridge and eat them within 3 days. To dry them, slice in half and dry in a food dehydrator.
Are figs good for you?
Yes! Figs may help build strong bones, as they contain calcium, magnesium and Vitamin K. They're high in fiber, so they help with digestion. They're also a source of iron and other essential vitamins and minerals. Figs contain potassium, which may help to lower blood pressure. They're listed as "medium" on the Glycemic Index scale.
I really hope you get a chance to try some fresh figs this summer.
Looking for more delicious healthy fig recipes?
- Fresh Fig Arugula Salad with Blackberries
- Honey Roasted Fig and Burrata Crostini
- Fresh Fig Appetizer with Blue Cheese and Hazelnuts
- Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Honey
- Caramelized Peaches and Figs
- Fresh Figs Poached in Blackberry Wine
- Fresh Fig, Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza
Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese and Maple Walnuts
- 6 fresh figs
- ¼ cup creamy goat cheese
- 2 tbsp walnuts
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- pinch of smoked sea salt or regular sea salt
- Prepare Maple-Glazed Walnuts first. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons walnuts and 2 teaspoons maple syrup and cook, stirring occasionally until walnuts are toasted and syrup has caramelized, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of smoked sea salt.
- Trim stems from figs and slice in half. Slice a tiny piece of the rounded part of each fig half so they will sit level on a serving plate.
- Top cut side with 2 teaspoons goat cheese and sprinkle with maple-glazed walnuts and serve.
Other favourite fresh fig recipes
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This recipe was originally published in 2016. It has been updated with new information.