The Sauce: Tapenade – Appetizer made with olives, capers, thyme, lemon, anchovies, garlic and spread on grilled or toasted baguette slices.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Ancient olive trees
The first time I touched a gnarled, twisted olive tree with mossy green leaves was on the Mount of Olives in the Garden of Gethsemane. That was over 20 years ago. Just last year Reuters reported findings on the eight olive trees in the garden from the National Research Council of Italy Trees and Timber Institute along with academics from five Italian universities. “Carbon dating showed that samples taken from the oldest part of the trunks of three of the eight trees came from the years 1092, 1166 and 1198….” Olive trees have longevity and some would argue, genealogy.
Seeing ancient olive trees in person is completely distant from childhood canned black olives on the tips of my five dainty fingers. No going back to those, I select fresh ones from the Olive Bar at local supermarkets where I can pick the variety and amount desired. Bins are filled with ripe black, oil, brine, dry-cured and green olives perfectly plain or stuffed with pimiento, cheese, peppers or garlic. Some are cured with crushed red pepper, cayenne or hot peppers to kick up the heat.
If you’re an olive lover too, maybe you eat them out of hand. And I’m betting you’ll like this Tapenade with your favorite olive variety or a mix for extra depth. It’s spread on grilled baguette slices so you can enjoy olives in a fancy, but easy olive hors’douvres. It’s easy to pulse in your food processor for a salty crostini appetizer on your buffet. Thank goodness for the fruit of olive trees.
You may also enjoy Rockamole, Fetamole, Jalapeño Bean Dip, Parmesan Zucchini Crisps, Vegetable Tapas, Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Bleu Cheese Ball, Nigiri Fruit Sushi, Smoky Sweet Wings, Teriyaki Wings, Buffalo Wings, Maple Chili Wings, Gyoza, Pearl Balls, Maytag Bleu Terrine, Shrimp with Miso Sauce, Creamy Italian Feta Dip, Htipiti Feta Dip, Tzatziki Feta Dip, and Yakitori.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 0 Minutes | Yield: 1 1/2 Cups | Level: Easy
1 1/3 cups mixed pitted olives
1 Tbsp parsley leaves
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed & drained
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp lemon zest
3 canned anchovy fillets
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 baguette, sliced diagonally
Special Equipment – food processor
I used French Mix olives which has a little heat. Kalamatas and green olives are mild and have a nice color texture. Try an all black or all green olive mix.
3 anchovy fillet’s are about 1/4 oz anchovies.
I love to finely grate garlic on a microplane grater or mince it with a knife so it mixes well.
Oil-cured: soaked in oil for several months.
Brined-cured: soaked in brine for one to six months.
Dry-cured: packed in salt for one or more months.
You can also serve this with crackers or pita triangles.
Serve on scrambled eggs for a special brunch dish.
Grill or bake white fish and serve tapenade on the side or top of each fillet.
Spoon over tomato slices or on Caprese Salad.
- Use kalamata, manzanilla, Nicoise, Arbequinas or other choices from the olive bar.
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photography and Styling by Helen Horton
Updated: December 1, 2013