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Figs are often used in appetizer recipes to add a natural sweetness and chewy texture, and are often combined with other sweet and savory food items. Common fig appetizers pair the dried fruit with a spreadable cheese, like goat's cheese, as well as various dressings or sauces made from honey or cream. It isn't uncommon for fig appetizers to contain some type of meat, such as shrimp, chicken or bacon, and hard boiled eggs. Most fig appetizers do try to emphasize the sweetness of the fruit by adding honey or maple syrup to the sauces and dressings, as well as sweet herbs like tarragon and rosemary.
A simple appetizer using dried figs, somewhat similar in texture to apricots or dates, often contains some type of spreadable cheese that is placed inside the fruit. One cheese, called chevre, is made from goat's milk and is not only placed inside the dried fruit itself, but around the base of the fruit to use for dipping. This simple fig appetizer is sometimes baked or broiled for a hot appetizer, combining both sweet and savory tastes. Fresh cracked pepper is usually sprinkled on top of the cheese to add more complexity to the overall taste.
Some recipes using dried figs call for not only cheese to act as a filling, but various types of meat and seafood as well. Placing bacon in the cheese filling is common in some fig appetizers, using ground bacon bits rather than an entire slice. Hard boiled eggs are sometimes cubed or mashed and placed inside each fig, as is cubed ham or chicken. Baking figs alongside shrimp or crab meat or serving broiled figs with shrimp or crap dip is also common in many appetizers using dried figs.
To play off of the sweetness of the figs, many appetizer recipes use a sauce to bake the figs in, usually with honey or maple syrup. These sweeteners may also be combined with cream or oil, and the dishes may include herbs and spices to help develop a more complex flavor. Fig appetizers might use sweet-tasting herbs such as tarragon and rosemary, as well as warmer herbs and spices, such as garlic and ground ginger. Some fig appetizers include sweet and savory dipping sauces made from these ingredients, instead of using them as a dressing before baking.
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