3 of Ina Garten’s Best ‘Modern Comfort Food’ Appetizers, Plus Tips

Ina Garten’s Modern Comfort Food is just that, updated comfort food. It includes a wide variety of recipes such as beef stew, her favorite dish from the cookbook, to showstoppers like Boston cream pie and smashed burgers. Great recipes are certainly in every Barefoot Contessa cookbook. Although, when it comes to appetizers, there are a few in Modern Comfort Food that stand out among the rest. 

‘Modern Comfort Food’ is Ina Garten’s latest cookbook and the easiest one she’s ever written

Of Garten’s 12 Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and counting (another hits shelves in October 2022), Modern Comfort Food is the newest. The longtime Food Network star released the book in October 2020 before embarking on a virtual book tour due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

“It’s funny, this was like the easiest book I’ve ever written,” Garten said while promoting the book in 2020. “I sat down and thought about all of those flavors that we remember from childhood.”

“I just took a remembered flavor that was familiar,” she continued. “And I just thought, how can I make it better? How can I make it easier to make?”

1. ‘Modern Comfort Food’ appetizers: Ina Garten’s Fig and Cheese Toasts taste like ‘grown-up cream cheese and jelly sandwiches’

Ina Garten, who has 'Modern Comfort Food' appetizers, smiles and looks on holding up a spoon
Ina Garten | Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

The Modern Comfort Food appetizer, Fig and Goat Cheese Toasts, amazed Garten’s longtime husband, Jeffrey Garten. Not necessarily the taste, although Jeffrey’s known to gush about everything the Barefoot Contessa makes, but rather how fast they were made.

“Jeffrey and I were having some friends for drinks and he couldn’t believe how quickly I put these appetizers together!” Garten wrote in Modern Comfort Food. “You put the fig spread on toast, then add some creamy cheese, sprinkle with microgreens, and drizzle it all with syrupy balsamic vinegar.”

“They taste like grown-up cream cheese and jelly sandwiches,” she added. 

Now for a few tips on making Garten’s Fig and Goat Cheese Toasts. She’s known to cook using in-season ingredients, so keep in mind figs are in season during the early summer and again in late summer and early fall.

Save time and avoid waiting on the toaster by putting slices of bread on a sheet pan and toasting it in the oven. Have leftover figs? Make Roasted Figs and Prosciutto, Garten’s two-ingredient appetizer, or her fig cake

2. Ina Garten’s Spinach and Artichoke Dip is an updated take on the classic

Another stand-out Modern Comfort Food appetizer is Spinach and Artichoke Dip. What sets Garten’s apart is caramelized onion and chopped artichoke hearts. 

“It’s crusty around the edges and creamy in the middle. I serve it with toasted slices of crusty baguette,” she wrote in Modern Comfort Food

Again, an easy tip for toasting the bread fast is to do it in the oven. Also consider using frozen artichoke hearts to avoid having to cut a whole artichoke. As for when artichokes are in season, they’re at their best from March to May. 

3. Ina Garten ‘Modern Comfort Food’ appetizers: Fresh Crab Nachos

This Modern Comfort Food appetizer might be a Barefoot Contessa Super Bowl recipe pick, but it doesn’t have to be a game-day-only dish. Garten described her Fresh Crab Nachos as “perfect for sharing” in her cookbook. So make them during football season and beyond. 

Typically, the ingredient lists for Garten’s recipes are short. However, her crab nachos are an exception. The ingredient list has a whopping 20 ingredients. 

For that reason, and because there’s a lot of prep involved, consider going the store-bought is fine route on a few things. Maybe buy diced yellow onion and chopped tomatoes as opposed to doing it at home. 

RELATED: 7 of Ina Garten’s Summer Recipes From ‘Modern Comfort Food’