March 5, 2011

Tapenade - and my winner of an olive oil tasting



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.
We were treated to a salad with olive oil vinaigrette, tapenade and tapenade bruschetta, fish poached in olive oil, and ... for dessert ... olive oil gellato.  What???  Yes, olive oil gellato.  I was very skeptical of the gellato.  I mean, ice cream whose main ingredient and flavor is olive oil?  I was thinking this will not be good at all.  To my surprise, it was actually quite tasty.  Maybe because it was made with the Colavita oil I love so much!  It's not something I'll ever make at home, or would just jump for joy to see on a restaurant menu, but it was an experience I'm glad I had - mainly because it was a combination you don't expect to see.  I like to try combinations you don't expect to see.

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.
 Grate in the zest of one lemon.  The original recipe called for the zest of two lemons, but I thought that was too much.  I like a little lemon zing with my olives, not a little olives with my lemon.


Lemon zestiness.

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!
 Drizzle in olive oil, pulsing the food processor a couple of times, until the tapenade is moist.  There you have it - wonderful homemade tapenade in about 5 minutes flat.  Serve it up with some nice bread and enjoy! 

The finished product.
I invite you to follow The Kitchen is My Playground with Pinterest, Facebook, Google Friend Connect, Linky Followers, bloglovin', or Feedburner. Buttons are in the right sidebar. I'd love to have you back soon!




Mixed Olive Tapenade
Adapted from Heidi Billotto

Ingredients
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
Olive oil


Directions
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.

NOTES:
- 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.

This post is linked with Sharing Sundays hosted by Everyday Sisters and Flash Back Friday hosted by Cookin' for My Captain, Ladies Night.

4 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the tapenade pizza with you last night---when are you going to post that recipe? And the bottle of wine was, also, fabulous!! Love you, girl and your cooking!

    ReplyDelete
  2. great post, great tapenade, GREAT friend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh man, this makes me want to go to Italy! I'm so glad you found a great olive oil--its what takes cooking to the next level!

    Thanks for linking this up at the FBF hop. Hope to see you again next Friday! Have a great week!
    ~Carolyn
    www.cookinformycaptain.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mmmmm..thanks for the recipe. I'm serving it during the Super Bowl tonight! Used kalamata, black and manzanilla. I'll probably tweak it a little for next time, but it's very yummy for a first run! Thanks again! XOXO

    ReplyDelete

I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

Share Buttons

Get widget