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.