Baked Figs With Balsamic and Feta

May  1, 2021
4 Ratings
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 1 to 2
Author Notes

This recipe is a vehicle for smushed or overripe figs. It's great on grilled bread, on pasta, or tossed with some crispy greens for a salad. Make sure you talk to your cheesemonger or do some Googling to track down the creamiest feta possible, otherwise it will dry out too much in the oven. If all else fails, soaking the feta overnight in garlic oil moistens it up quite a bit. Alternatively, you can use creamy fresh goat cheese. I make balsamic reduction by boiling down inexpensive balsamic vinegar (usually, a 17-ounce bottle yields about 3/4 cup). Or go crazy and just bust out your fancy aged balsamic. You won't be sorry. —Phyllis Grant

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup creamy feta (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (for soaking the feta)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 12 very ripe figs (any kind you can find)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic oil (scooped from feta oil)
  • 2 teaspoons aged balsamic or homemade balsamic reduction
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 10 mint or parsley leaves, more to taste
  1. Crumble feta into a jar or bowl. Top with olive oil and garlic. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 400° F. Stem and halve figs. Scoop a tablespoon of olive oil out of the feta mixture and sprinkle it over the figs. Coat each fig with a bit of balsamic. Sprinkle with salt. Tuck in the chunks of feta. Toss on the thyme sprigs, and put them in the oven.
  3. Check them after 15 minutes. The figs cook fast. Don't let them completely fall apart. When they're quite jammy and releasing their juices, remove from the oven and turn on your broiler. Broil for a minute or two until the figs and feta are just starting to brown. Remove from the oven. Cool for a few minutes. Pick out thyme sprigs and use your fingers to sprinkle the crispy leaves down over the figs. Discard sprigs. Garnish with mint or parsley leaves. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • HalfPint
  • Phyllis Grant
    Phyllis Grant
  • Lizzie J
    Lizzie J
  • Kathryn
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

8 Reviews

Lizzie J. May 1, 2021
We made this as an appetizer for a small dinner party. We used medjool dates instead of figs - not trying to be contrary, we just already had them! we used French feta (per recommendation from the cheese guy at the grocery store). we made balsamic reduction, but did not use it - it was cloyingly sweet :-( so we used normal aged balsamic instead. we forgot the herbs - oops! served it with pita points. it was FANTASTIC !! it was a big hit with everyone. and did I mention it was super easy?? SUCH a keeper. Thank you, Phyllis!!
HalfPint June 4, 2018
How long does this keep once cooked? Would love to pre-roast the figs, save for a later date, then toss in feta, and bake to warm through and serve. It sounds wonderful and my figs are looking very nice and plump this year.
Phyllis G. June 4, 2018
You can absolutely pre-roast and then save the figs for a later date. As you noted above, just add the feta at the end right before serving. The figs start to fall apart a bit more when reheated but that's not a problem.
Kathryn December 24, 2015
You can freeze fresh, dried, and stewed figs next season to use all year. Make preserves or jams, too. My one young tree provided figs for all of the above. You don't have to wait a year then!
Your cookies are very good I'm sure, but it was your witty anecdotes that were so pleasing to me.
Linda September 28, 2014
I will search down figs tomorrow. I do not care the price, this is a beautiful recipe in my opinion, I adore figs to the point that I will make myself sick eating so many in one sitting, I have everything else in or near the kitchen. And, since it is apple time, why not do this with apples? And, since it is wild mushroom time very, very soon, why not a riff with wild mushrooms? If I could trade you apples for this recipe I would, believe me. Our trees are loaded and the ravens are perching on every tree limb, calling to one another, mocking me and my pail.
Phyllis G. November 6, 2014
Love all of the ways you can riff on this recipe. Thanks for the inspiration!
Robert F. September 28, 2014
I don't know if the recipe is any good, but the story about the apples and the kid is wonderful.
Phyllis G. November 6, 2014
Thank you, Robert. The story warms my heart. Glad you like it. The recipe is pretty good too. Though I will now have to wait another year to make it again.