Sunday, October 9, 2011

Triple Olive Tapenade

This was the second topping offered for our bruschetta bar.  I absolutely adore olives of all varieties.  This recipe is a great way to showcase your favorites.  Ross absolutely abhors olives.  That left more for the rest of us....

Adapted from Alton Brown's recipe at

yields approximately 1 to 1-1/2 cups

The Ingredients:
1/2 pound pitted mixed olives (I used green stuffed with pimetto, black, and kalamata)
2 anchovy fillets or 1 tsp anchovy paste
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp capers
2 to 3 fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

The Process:
Thoroughly rinse the olives in cool water. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture becomes a coarse paste, approximately 1 to 2 minutes total. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

The Review:
The spread was pungent, salty, briny and acidic in all of the right ways.  Some may scoff or turn they nose up at anchovies, but was is a good Caesar dressing or salad nicoise without the salty little morsels.  Likewise for this delightful spread.  The fish, capers and lemon juice serve to deepen and enhance the olives' flavors without overpowering them.  As this was the first time I'd ventured to use anchovy paste, I did err on the light side, lest the little fish dominate the salty balance.  The spread was a thick and coarse consistency, mounding onto the crostini well, without falling apart; moist without saturating the little toasts.  The tapenade served as a wonderful compliment to the sweeter tomato brustchetta toppings.

This appetizer is incredibly quick to prepare and fairly inexpensive (depending on your olives of choice, that is).  I am looking forward to perusing our local cheese shop's olive bar for the next assortment of olives to try...

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