Tapenade is one of those things that we don’t eat enough of. Everytime we have it, we say the same thing, “Why are we not eating more tapenade!” It is delicious and is one of those classic summer dishes that reminds me of holidays in Greece and France.
I ate alot of tapenade at break times whilst picking grapes in Beaujolais. We’d have it spread over warm baguettes, with local cheese and lashings of whatever wine was in the bucket (purely medicinal, it helped to dull the back pain you see). I believe that the intense satisfaction I got from munching the tapenade pulled me through those back breaking times. The wine was certainly nothing to get excited about, unfortunately.
This is a wonderful concoction of flavours that I’ve had a little play with (of course) and omitted the use of capers due to a forgetful moment at the shops. The unique caper-ness has been replaced by the gorgeous sun-dried tomato. Not a bad substitute! I have also added raisins to add a little sweetness, the black olives can be a little bitter in these parts, Wales not being high on the olive producing charts. The rest is fairly classic tapenade, forming a delectable black paste that can be spread or dipped as you choose. I love this type of food, which is greater than the sum of its bits.
I normally think of Tapenade as being a Greek dish, but it actually hales from Provencal in France. Traditionally this puree contains caper, anchovies, black olives and olive oil. The French would normally serve it as an hors d’oeurve or stuff it into a steak.
Tapenade is alot like pesto (see our ‘Hazelnut Pesto‘ post) in that it is a joy to behold sitting in the fridge door. It just hangs around and marinates, getting better and better. It goes well in so many things and mixed with some oil, makes for an instant wonder dressing. The best part is that it has a gourmet flavour with very little needed in way of preparation.
The way you chop up your veg has a major effect on the presentation and texture of a salad. Have a little think before you begin to chop about what type of effect you’d like to create.
If you spend a little more on good quality olives here, it is well worth it. The black variety are normally a little cheaper and in their own way, just as good as some of their greener brothers and sisters.
Tapenade – 1 cup black olive, 6 sun dried tomatoes, 2 cloves crunched garlic, 1/2 red onion, 1/4 cup raisins, juice of 1 lemon, handful of chopped parsley, sprig of rosemary, pinch of thyme and oregano, glug of olive oil, cracked black pepper and sea salt (to taste), glug of olive oil (if needed)
Salad – 1 nice red onion (thinly sliced), 4 small beetroots (cut into eighth’s), 2 cups of spinach (chopped), 3 carrots (grated), 2 stalks celery (chopped), 1 cupful of sprouts (we used green lentil sprouts)
Tapenade – Add all ingredients to a food processor and begin to whizz. As it becomes sticky, trickle in some remaining olive oil to create a beautiful, shiny puree. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge overnight for maximum marination (new word for you there!).
Salad – We put the red onion and carrot into a food processor and grated, then chopped the celery, spinach and beetroot separately.
Thin out some tapenade by adding the same quantity of good olive oil and whisking well. You can lower the amount of tapenade if you’d prefer a lighter dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and give a good mix in.
Place in your favourite salad bowl and top with a handful of green lentil sprouts (see our ‘sprout‘ post for how to sprout your own, its quite simple). Then spoon on some tapenade.
We have also used it to flavour soups and stews and of course in post June days we’d have it lathered on some warm oat bread.
We Love It!
This tapenade has a great balance of bitter and sweet, with the beautiful silky texture of pureed olives.
Olives are one of the oldest foods known, dating back 7,000 years. Black Olives are left to ripen for longer on the trees, green ones are picked earlier, they generally have a milder flavour. Olives are a good source of iron (which helps to carry oxegen in our blood) and are low in calories with plenty of good fats. They do however contain a decent amount of sodium and should be eaten in moderation if you’re keeping an eye on salt intake.
Twelve black olives provide 1.8mg of iron. Interestingly women need 18mg of iron per day and men only 8mg.