Featured on Amuse Bouche the blog for Where Women Cook Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I debated the wisdom of sharing recipes for tapenade with you tonight. Unfortunately, there really are foods so plain the camera shudders when it's pointed at them. Tapenade is one of them. My camera begged for mercy before it quit on me. You all know that tapenade, whose name comes from the provencal word for capers, is a condiment or appetizer that comes from the south of France. It contains olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil that are very finely chopped or pounded to form a paste. It is then used as a spread, or to stuff an occasional protein or a vegetable or two. It's flavor is bright and sharp and it has the full bodied flavor we've come to associate with foods from the South of France. I keep it on hand to serve as an occasional hors d'oeuvre but mostly to use as a flavor booster for ground meat or quick pasta suppers. In truth, I rarely reduce my tapenade to a paste and prefer the texture that comes with the chopped version. I went all the way tonight because I wanted you to see how it should look before I went into theme and variation. Interestingly enough, the Italians an Greeks also have versions of well-flavored olive pastes that are very much like the one served in France. I decided to include recipes for two types of tapenade in this one entry tonight. One is made from black olives, the other from green. Believe it or not, there is a decided difference in the flavor profile of the two. Black olive tapenade is less astringent than the green and I prefer to use it for flavoring beef dishes. I personally favor the sharper, more full bodied flavor of the green, but I really dislike its olive drab color. I've found that this is a dish that people either love or hate. If you haven't had tapenade you might want to try one of these. Here are the recipes.
Green Olive Tapenade...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Bon Appetit Magazine
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 pound mild green brine-cured olives (such as Picholine), pitted
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 garlic cloves
Place almonds in processor and grind finely; transfer to small bowl. Place olives, oil, capers, anchovies, and garlic in processor. Blend until fine paste forms. Add almonds; blend 5 seconds. Season tapenade with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.) Yield: 1-1/2 cups.
Black Olive Tapenade...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Gourmet Magazine
2 cups pitted brine cured black olives, such as Kalamata
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine olives, garlic and capers in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste forms, about 3 minutes. With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream and pulse until well combined. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Yield: 2 cups.
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