Black Olive Tapenade


This is an ideal make ahead appetizer, ranking right up there with hummus as another go-to for your repertoire. Another plus is that you’ll probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboard or pantry. Making it yourself you control what goes in, thereby having control over the final product – and final taste!

Love the little Cuisinart ‘pots’ for serving dishes!!

I haven’t always been the biggest fan of olives, unless there was some gin and a martini glass involved… but like with all foods on my ‘don’t really love ’em list’ – I kept giving them a chance. Needing an interesting app for a recent dinner party and not having ever made it before, I went for it.

With a recipe from one of my Mediterranean cookbooks and because I’m always cooking Italian, I had all ingredients on hand. That, combined with a mini food processor and it’s done in no time. Transfer to an appropriate serving dish. cover and stash in the fridge giving the flavours time to meld, before dinner.

Taste the olives, and if you think they might be too salty, you could give them a quick rinse. As you’ll notice there’s no salt in the recipe, enough is provided from the olive brine, as well as the anchovies – should you choose to add them.

Black Olive Tapenade

Be sure to start with good olives, as they will make or break this dish. While the recipe asks for anchovies, I did not include them even; knowing how salty the Kalamatas were, I left them out thinking perhaps next time I’ll add them. One thing for sure, do not skimp on the capers. Their bright tang is necessary for this to work. Makes enough to serve 4.

Ingredients:
6 oz black olives, such as Kalamata
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp capers, drained
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to cover
*3 canned anchovies, drained (can be omitted)

Preparation:
To pit the olives place in one layer on your cutting board, and flatten with the side of your knife – much like crushing garlic.
Remove pits and add olives to a food processor.
Add remaining ingredients and blend – for how long is up to you. You can make it smooth, but a little texture is nice.
Using a spatula, scrape out all the tapenade transferring it to a glass or ceramic container. (Remember what you don’t remove is waste, plus you have to work harder to clean the bowl!)
Top with a thin layer of olive oil, cover and refrigerate.
Remove at least 30 minutes before serving, to take the chill off – it tastes best as room temperature.
Serve with your fave bread or crackers; this would be dee-lish with Homemade Wheat Thins.