Tapenade

Tapenade

 

Tapenade is always associated with Provence where olives are the star at local farmers markets, but the Romans were making a similar olive puree with herbs thousands of years ago. The name is rooted in the French word tapeo which means capers, a key ingredient along with olives, anchovies, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Tapenade on crostini is my go to favorite hors d’eouvre to serve with drinks, although it need not end there. Delicious served with fish, poultry, meats, tossed with pasta, or spread on a buttered baguette when making a sandwich.

I have included a simple classic Mediterranean Tapenade recipe that follows the traditional wisdom of simplicity of ingredients. I have also included a mash up recipe if you will for a Thai tapenade that evolved more out of necessity than any fusion intended. There is a substitution of Thai basil in lieu of Italian sweet basil which is hard to find and expensive. Thai fish sauce replaces the anchovies which are imported and also expensive, lime juice in lieu of lemon juice, and Thai red chile flakes in lieu of black pepper. This makes for a very savory taste adventure with a difference!

 

Classic Mediterranean Tapenade: makes about 1 ¼ cups

  • 1 cup pitted oil cured black olives
  • 2 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • a handful of fresh sweet basil or lemon thyme leaves; or a combination of both
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • a twist or two of freshly ground of black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping teaspoons capers, rinsed
  • sea salt to taste

Tapenade would traditionally be made in a mortar, but a food processor works beautifully.

Place the pitted olives, anchovy fillets, herbs, lemon juice and pepper in the work bowl of the processor, lock on the lid, and pulse until the ingredients are broken down into a coarse puree, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed.

Then with the processor running add the olive oil in a slow steady stream through the feed tube until it is emulsified into the puree. Stop the machine and add the capers and pulse until the capers are broken down and mixed into the puree. Stop the machine, taste the tapenade, and add salt if needed.

Transfer the tapenade to a bowl, seal with cling film and refrigerate for several hours before serving which will meld the flavors together. Stir briefly just before serving.

 

Thai Tapenade: makes 1 ¼ cups

  • 1 cup pitted oil cured olives
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
  • a handful of fresh Thai sweet basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Thai red chile flakes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Place the pitted olives, fish sauce, Thai basil, lime juice, and red chile flakes in the work bowl of the processor, lock the lid, and pulse until the ingredients are broken down into a coarse puree, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed.

Then with the processor running add the olive oil in a slow stead stream through the feed tube until it is emulsified into the puree. Stop the machine, taste the tapenade, and add salt if needed.

Transfer the tapenade to a bowl, seal with cling film and refrigerate for several hours before serving which will meld the flavors together. Stir briefly just before serving.

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