I love the salty, earthy flavors of tapenade. Tapenade is usually made with black olives. However, after a delightful meal at a coastal Spanish tapas restaurant in New Orleans, Costera, I was inspired to try to duplicate their delicious briny green olive tapenade.
Tapenade originates from the area of Provence in southern France. The word “tapenade” comes from the Provence term for capers. The original recipe for tapenade called for more capers than olives. It was also made with tuna in certain areas. Over the years it has morphed into a dip or spread made with almost equal parts of olives and capers, but usually more olives. It can also include aromatics such as garlic, and herbs such as basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme.
The green olive tapenade in the recipe below has more than twice the number of olives than capers. It also includes anchovies, garlic, parsley and a little lemon zest and juice. It is best to buy pitted olives if you are making either black olive or green olive tapenade. I used castelvetrano olives. Feel free to use any kind of olives or an assortment of different types of green olives to give the spread more interest and depth.
You will need a food processor or a blender to make this smooth green olive paste. If you choose to be a purist, you can use a mortar and pestle to make the green olive tapenade. Once all of the ingredients are finely chopped, you can drizzle in some good olive oil. The olive oil will form almost an emulsion of sorts as it begins to draw all of the ingredients together into a paste.
The tapenade is perfect to serve with toasts for an appetizer with aperitifs or cocktails. I also make tapenade and use it to stir into pasta, or top salads or with my hummus or as a spread on pizza before adding other toppings.
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