Mixed Olive Tapenade Recipe
Historically, olives are considered to be one of the world’s oldest foods and thought to have originated in Crete almost 7000 years ago. Olives are a large part of the healthy heart smart Mediterranean diet.
My Mixed Olive Tapenade is simple to prepare & absolutely delicious. A tapenade is originally a French dish consisting of chopped olives mixed with various other ingredients, spices and aromatics. It is usually served as an appetizer along with some crusty bread, toasted naan/pita wedges. It makes for a great appetizer & is just perfect when entertaining since it can be made well in advance. In fact, the longer the tapenade sits, the better it will taste ☺.
MIXED OLIVE TAPENADE
2 cups of your favorite olives, pitted (I like a multi-colored mixture)
2 tbsp capers
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, finely minced
1 small sprig of rosemary leaves, finely minced
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
¼ cup sliced almonds (or pine nuts), lightly toasted & finely chopped
coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
sea salt, to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh basil or flat leaf parsley, finely minced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Rinse the olives along with the capers and drain them well. The olives and capers need to both be finely chopped – this can be done by hand or pulsed in a food processor along with the other ingredients. Now the consistency of this dish varies widely from roughly chopped to smooth puree. Personally, I like my tapenade finely chopped with some texture. But you can decide your tapenade’s consistency based on your personal preference. If you prefer a more coarse consistency, chopping everything by hand may be the way to go. You can also pound (or pulverize) the tapenade to your desired consistency by using a mortar/pestle – this method will also give you a good workout ☺. Set the olives and capers aside until needed.
In a large deep skillet on medium low heat, add the extra virgin olive oil. When warm, add in the finely minced garlic cloves along with the finely minced thyme leaves, finely minced rosemary leaves, lemon zest & red pepper flakes. Let the spices and aromatics warm through for a couple of minutes before adding in the chopped olives and capers. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients. Season the tapenade with the black pepper and sea salt as needed. Let the olives warm through for about 5-6 minutes. Then add in the lemon juice, check the seasonings and adjust if necessary. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the tapenade to cool thoroughly before serving. Garnish with a little fresh basil or parsley and serve along with some crusty bread, toasted naan/pita wedges or crackers, fruit, nuts and assorted cheeses.
Once cooled you can store the tapenade in an airtight container in your refrigerator but in my house, I usually have no leftovers ☺.
For a super spicy kick add about ½ tsp or so of red chili powder to the mix!
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