How to Make a Variation of Tapenade




Tapenade is an olive relish that you can use in a million ways. I like to make a big batch and have it on hand all the time.

Mix it with mayonnaise for a sandwich spread.

Sprinkle on salads.

Add a few tablespoons to any tomato sauce for pasta.

Use in devilled eggs.

Dress pasta or cooked vegetables with tapenade, a little olive oil, and parmesan or feta cheese. Boom! -- dinner.

Step 1: Basic Ingredients

Large jar of salad olives
Two cans of black, ripe olives
Two jars of black kalamata olives
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/4 of a medium onion

This is all you really need, but you can certainly include plenty of other ingredients. Good ones to try are capers, peperoncini, roasted bell peppers, dried tomatoes, or red pepper flakes.

NOTE: I'm informed that capers are NOT optional. If you don't use capers, it will still be fabulous, but it won't really be tapenade.

Step 2: Necessary Equipment

A very sharp knife and a cutting board.

You can use a food processor, but your tapenade can get soupy and overworked. Also, I don't have a food processor. If I did, I might recommend it over the knife. Ya never know.

If you make this recipe with a food processor, add a comment and let us know how it worked.

Step 3: Salad Olives

These are the manufacturer's rejects. Which is fine, because they're cheaper and you're going to chop them up anyway.

Step 4: Pitted Kalamata Olives

Love these olives because they're pitted (yay!) and they're cheap (yay!).

In addition to these, get two 12-ounce cans of pitted ripe olives. I always get small olives, rather than large or jumbo, on the theory that more small ones will fit in the can than larges ones, and so I'm getting more total olive mass. Ya think?

Step 5: Olive Carnage

Drain all your olives before beginning to chop. Be sure your knife is sharp.

Step 6: Chopped Olives

Actually, I see some big hunks in there. You want a nice, fine mince.

Step 7: Minced Onions

These look kinda big, too. Who cut this stuff up?!

Everything you put in your tapenade should be minced very fine.

For this quanitity of tapenade, use about 1/4 of a medium onion, or less, depending on how much you like onions. Raw onion is powerful.

Step 8: Minced Garlic

Okay, this is is minced nicely. It needs to be nice and fine.

For this quantity of tapenade, I use two or three large cloves of garlic, but I really like garlic. You can use less. Or more!

Step 9: Optional Ingredients

Add hot pepper of any kind that you like, if you like foods spicy.

Lemon is a very good addition, too. Lime would also be delicious.

(I don't have to tell you not to use salt, do I?)

Step 10: Lemon Zester

A zester is a very handy item. It gives you strings of the zest which you can use as is to garnish dishes and desserts, or chop fine to put in your tapenade.

Use a light touch and take off just the yellow zest. Avoid the white, bitter pith.

Step 11: Lemon Zested

Zest your lemon before you juice it.

Step 12: Zested, Minced, and Ready to Juice

Mince your zest and put it into the tapenade. With this quantity of tapenade, two or three lemons would not be too many.

Before cutting the de-zested lemon in half to juice it, roll it on the counter with your palm to break down the juice-containing cels inside the fruit.

Step 13: Juiced Lemon

This wooden reamer is a handy tool for juicing lemons.

Mix the lemon juice into your tapenade, cover and refrigerate for a few hours to develop flavors.

It will keep beautifully in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, if covered tightly.

Step 14: Yum!

Tapenade makes an elegant appetizer for a party. Serve with crackers and raw vegetables such as celery and bell pepper.



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    23 Discussions


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for looking! You'll love it. Mix with cream cheese and a little milk for a fabulous dip with crackers or raw vegetables.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Help! I want to make this for Thanksgiving! How much lemon juice is there in two or three lemons?!?! Teaspoons? A half a cup? 

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe a half a cup to three quarters of a cup, depending on how big your lemons are. Put in half a cup, let it sit a little, then taste and add more if you like. Don't fret too much over the amount. If you like olives a LOT, it will be good no matter what else you put in it. I promise!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I was making this on Thanksgiving morning with lots of others in the kitchen. No one had ever heard of it. We didn't have lemons, so we used our limes. We tried it out on vegetables, crackers, turkey, pizza - let's just say lots of different things. It is a lot of chopping, but very good. Thank you!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    In order to cut down on the power of the acid in onions I put them in a small strainer and run them under the cold water tap to rinse them. This will keep the good onion flavor, cut down on the bite and allow for a longer storage in the refrigerator (assuming people can be kept from snarfing it all).


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I used to make the stuff several gallons at a time for restaurants and groceries... The quality and balance of the olives is very important. When doing it professionally it was roughly a 50/50 mix of black olives (of the California ripe variety) and Kalamata. Basically the briney Kalamata olives were tempered with the generic blacks. At home I would use a blend of Gaeta (which have a nice mellow fruity flavor- that compliments high-quality capers) and Kalamata, or whatever else happened to be good at the time. Olives are easy to pit with a paring knife, two opposable fingers, and a cutting board ( put an "x" in the top of an olive, then "x" side up push the olive down onto the cutting board- sliding out the pit). Salt pack capers are desirable, and usually only marginally pricier than the vinegar brined ones. Make certain to soak the capers "until they're done" (anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple hours). Also, as redundant as it seems, olive oil is a necessity for tapenade for taste and consistency. It was also common practice to blend in a mix of cheap-o parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino-romano, and asiago.... But I think this doesn't add anything to it. Other common, but optional additives: dried oregano, pignoli (pine nuts), anchovies, dried hot chiles. The food processor (robo-coupe) does a fine job at making tapenade. No worries there, though it probably wouldn't do a good job making "chunky style"... Cheers!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I've been making this stuff since I was (never mind). Anyway, if you live near a good supermarket, they'll have an real olive section and you can buy them buy the pound. Bottled Spanish olives are OK, but bulk olives are much tastier. Also, try to find an Italian deli that has capers in salt. Buy, rinse and use.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    tried the recipe with a food processor and it took me 10minutes... nice one amigo

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    There, see? A food processor is better! And as Chooseausername says, it ought to be a paste anyway, which you can manage easily in a food processor.

    I find a food processor to be a pain in the neck to clean -- it has so many parts, and tiny crevices to harbor ickyness. Of course if I had a dishwasher, this wouldn't be a problem.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    A cheese grater can be used in place of the zester. By the way, I will be making this tonight! My kids love olives.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I love this stuff.

    One detail: Without the capers, it's just olive spread! (Capers are required, not optional.) The name "tapenadetapenade" comes from a word for capers, after all.

    I suppose that a good analogy would be a clam chowder recipe where clams are listed as "optional." :)

    3 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Dude! You got me there. I should have done a little research before calling this "tapenade" in public! (My friends and family don't care what I call it. They just scarf it up.) Let's change the name, shall we?


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    A week or two -- but then, it seldom lasts longer than a week around my house. If you won't use it often, make half the recipe.


    This is a unique version of tapenade ! =o)

    Traditionally, tapenade is a thinly crushed paste (a purEe), not a salad !
    Here, a lot of people also mix a purEe of anchovy with it ... but I don't like anchovy ...