If you love olives, then you'll love this tapenade. When you make your own at home, it tastes soooo much better than those you buy in a jar at the grocery store. And I never knew it was so super easy to make your own ... until a friend of mine and I took a one-day demonstration cooking class featuring olive oil.
I absolutely loved the class!! The instructor made several different dishes using olive oil, and we got to sample each one - each paired with a different wine. What's even better is we got to do an olive oil tasting! Did you know that olive oils from different countries and regions taste distinctly different? I sure didn't. But, boy, do they ever. It was really neat to get to taste the subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, differences in the oils. So ... we got a cooking demonstration, meal, olive oil tasting, and wine tasting all rolled into one. Sweet! For a wine lover and olive lover like me, it was an absolutely wonderful day spent with an absolutely fabulous friend.
For each dish the instructor prepared, she'd begin by having us taste several olive oils from the region whose oil she was going to use in the dish. We'd dip small pieces of bread in each of the oils and taste to our heart's content. My favorites ended up being from Italy. The Italian oils were very mild and smooth tasting, with a little bit of fruitiness to them. My absolute favorite was Colavita Extra Virgin olive oil - yuuummmmmy! Though I must say - I really didn't like the oils from Spain at all. The Spanish ones had a bit of a bitter taste (sorry, Spain!).
|My absolute favorite - Colavita Extra Virgin from Italy.|
My favorite dish of the day was the tapenade. Naturally, then, I started making it myself at home. The beauty of this recipe is you can adapt it to suit your tastes. I start with a mix of several varieties of olives - a country mix that includes kalamata and Queen, regular ol' manzanilla stuffed with pimentos, and black. Throw them all in your food processor, like this:
|Lovely olive mix.|
Don't like pimento-stuffed? - use something else. Can't stand black? Leave them out. It's all up to you! Next, toss in some capers. The capers control the saltiness of the tapenade so, again, adjust to your taste.
|Capers - ready to go.|
Add some parsley and give it all a good whirl in the food processor to chop and combine it, like this:
|It tastes way better than it looks!|
The finished product.
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Adapted from Heidi Billotto
1 (6.25 oz) jar pitted country mix olives
1 (6 oz) can pitted black olives
A couple spoonfuls of pimento-stuffed manzanilla olives
1/2 of a 4 oz jar capers
Zest of 1 lemon
3 T. fresh or dried parsley
1. Drain olives and capers; place in the bowl of a food processor. Add lemon zest and parsley; process a few seconds to chop and blend ingredients together.
2. Drizzle in olive oil, pulsing occasionally, until tapenade reaches your desired consistency. It should be moist, but not runny. Serve with bread or crackers.
- You can use any combination of olives you like ... all green, all black, 1/2 & 1/2, the mix I use - whatever you like!
- Capers control the saltiness, so adjust to taste.
- To make a tapenade bruschetta, spread tapenade on baguette slices, sprinkle on some mozzarella or goat cheese, and top with a piece of sundried tomato and chopped fresh basil; broil until the cheese is melty.