Dark, piquant and delicious, tapenade is wonderfully easy to make at home. The salty, fruity taste of olives is given extra zest with the addition of capers and new depth with an anchovy or two. Spread on crusty bread for lunch or as an appetizer, or used in puff pastry tarts for savoury interest, tapenade is an addictive snack that has all the health benefits of olives to recommend it, as well as its taste.
While the name tapenade is essentially French, black olive pastes have been developed wherever olives are grown around the Mediterranean. This recipe has a French slant with its capers and anchovies.
There are so many versions of tapenade available to buy ready-made, that making it at home is really not essential, but it can be fun to develop your own perfectly balanced black olive paste, experimenting with different olive varieties, varying the amounts of capers, trying it with and without the anchovies, and it really takes very little time and effort.
Recipe for Home-made Tapenade
250g / 9oz black olives without their stones
2 tablespoons capers
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
black pepper to season
Put the pitted olives, capers, garlic and anchovies into the processor and blitz to a paste.
You decide how chunky or smooth you like it. Don’t overdo it, as you want some texture to it.
Add the olive oil and lemon juice and mix together, then season to taste with black pepper.
The tapenade should keep for at least two weeks in the fridge. You can seal it with a thin layer of olive oil to keep for longer.
Experiment with different olive varieties, from different countries. Greece, Spain, Italy and France all produce olives with substantially different flavours so it can be fun to see the difference they make to your tapenade.
Feel like enjoying the tastes of the Mediterranean without any effort. Why not visit or Madeira Vista in Leicester for a selection of wonderful Mediterranean dishes and a great atmosphere.