This is a very easy, no-cook recipe, laden with strong Mediterranean flavors.
We are gripped tight by the World Cup fever. All our schedules are changed to fit into the hour between matches. 3-4 matches a day and we are almost camping by the television. Seriously addicted.
Plates of snacks and fulfilling food is needed at these times. This tapenade makes it perfect with flat breads or crusty bread or crackers. It also makes a quick delicious meal added to pasta. It can also be used as a pizza spread or stirred in couscous or quinoa. This one definitely happens to be one of those versatile condiments.
Tapenade is a soft but coarse paste made mainly with olives (any kind) with other flavorings in it. Black and green olives have their own distinct flavors. It is the way the other ingredients are combined to the olives that construct the final flavors. Traditional tapenades are olive based with capers in them. It is often confused to be of French origin, but seems like the ancient Romans had the recipe long before the origin of the French word Tapenade.
There are regional variations to the dish, with the addition of lemon juice, anchovies, garlic, artichokes or even brandy!
I have used a few of my favorite ingredients here other than olive; sun dried tomatoes and a few herbs from my yard. This might not a very traditional recipe, but delicious nevertheless.
Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade
Ingredients: (makes approx. 1.5 – 2 cups)
- 1 pint black olives, pitted
- 1/4 or more cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (store bought or homemade) , drained (reconstitute tomatoes in hot water, until tender if you are using dried tomatoes which are not in olive oil) – adjust amount to taste. If you want dominant flavor of sun dried tomatoes use more
- 1.5 tablespoon capers
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 4-6 tablespoon chopped fresh sweet basil leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon balm leaves and a few sprigs of lemon thyme (optional: I have these growing in my yard, so I used them)
- salt to taste, (olives and sun dried tomatoes already might contain salt, so be careful with how much you add)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or as much as you would need (you may use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes)
- lightly toasted pine nuts and crushed red pepper for garnish
*Note: You can change the proportions of the herbs and also the other ingredients to suit your taste.
Combine all ingredients other than the oil in a food processor. Process while adding a steady stream of oil until the consistency is coarse and chunky. Top with more oil and herbs if you want. Garnish with pine nuts and red crushed pepper.
Serve with on flat or crusty bread/crackers, or crudités or over pasta and pizza or as a condiment.
Preparation Time: 10 – 15 minutes minutes
Cooking time: none
Difficulty Level: Very Easy
Serves/Makes about 2 cups
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