Tapenade. That piquant condiment found on virtually every dining table in the Mediterranean. Most people associate it with olives. Tapenade isn’t just about olives, though. Rather, this biting spread represents the successful marriage between capers and olives. In fact, its name comes from the French Provencale word for capers — tapeno.
To make a fresh tapenade takes only scant minutes and ingredients. Pitted olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil are either pulverized with a mortar and pestle or processed in a food processor until they become a chunky puree. The resultant tapenade is either served or refrigerated until ready to use.
And just how to utilize a tapenade? Along with slathering it on baguettes for a quick appetizer, Mediterranean cooks may spread it over seared fish steaks, grilled vegetables, crackers or warm pita bread. They may also employ it as a stuffing for oven-roasted tomatoes or as a savory dressing for sandwiches.
Simple to make and a pleasure to eat, tapenades are quite the Mediterranean treat.
Makes roughly 1 cup
½ pound Kalamata olives, pitted
1 tablespoon capers
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until somewhat smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.