What is tapenade?
The origins of tapenade
Tapenade originates in southern France (Provence) on the Mediterranean about 150 miles from the Italian border and is a huge favorite in Italy. The name comes from the Provençal word tapèno meaning caper. It is sometimes referred to as an olive paste and many chefs consider it a gourmet condiment. It is always a hit at any social occasion I have. It goes best on Italian flat bread (I will show you how to make foccacia in a later article) or crostini (more about crostini in later articles), but it can be eaten with or on pita bread. I have tried a lot of variations on the theme and finally arrived at my favorite mixture of these delicious ingredients. It is also a healthy dish and incredibly easy to whip up.
Ingredients (8 people):
- 4 garlic gloves peeled and diced
- ½ lemon juice from the lemon
- 1 - 6 oz bottle Kalamata olives (Vigo is a good brand) – pour brine off and take pits out
- 1.5 tablespoons capers – drained (Bella is a good brand)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ pound parmesan cheese – imported is the best if you can afford it
- 6 anchovy filets from can
- 1 cup fresh basil
Just throw all the ingredients in a blender, chill and serve with flat bread, pita or crostini. If you want to live on the wild side and you know you will not be serving to children, add a small amount of cognac to see if you enjoy it more. If you want to experiment with other ingredients here are some suggestions: mustard (Dijon), red wine vinegar, brandy, artichokes, portabella mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, or green olives. Tapenade can also be used as a stuffing in meat or fish, mixed with pasta, on a baked potato or in a sandwich.
In the blender
You can make tapenade butter by mixing the above recipe with butter (start with 8 tablespoons and keep adding to get the consistency you want). Tapenade butter is fantastic under the skin of a chicken while roasting or as a meat garnish. You can also form the tapenade butter into a stick, by wrapping it in cellophane and chilling so that it can be cut into slices.
I have somewhat siamlir filings when it comes to food I'm not really fond of. I'm always thinking that anyway I should cook with it and check how it tastes like in a given combination. Fortunately (or maybe not), there are really few foods I'm not really into, and only 2 that I find repulsive (not counting those things I will never manage even to try eg. brain). My biggest issue are brussel sprouts this is the only produce that I really hate, but the last time I tried them was like when I was 7 or so. Now every winter I wonder around in veggie section and think should I buy them or not. This year I even throwed them to my shopping cart, but after a while put them back Maybe next year, I'll finally manage to buy them Anyway I find it pretty disturbing that I don't eat something I'm even collecting recipes for sprouts just in case . I hope next winter I'll finally manage to try them again
TAPENADE SOUNDS LIKE A MISTAKE SOMEONE MADE YEARS AGO AND LOOKS TERRIBLE. PLEASE KEEP IT IN EUROPE.
I'm not easily impressed. . . but that's impersisng me! :)