Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 23, 2013

Olive Tapenade

If you like olives, this is the tapenade for you. If you don’t really like olives, but feel you should, this is the tapenade for you. If you already have a couple kinds of olives on hand, but not very many of any one sort, this is most definitely the tapenade for you.

Olive Tapenade

1 pint pitted olives, well drained, mixed is preferable to one sort, well chopped–but not too evenly

1 small shallot, minced

1 small stalk celery, leafy tops included, minced

3/4 oz sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated in hot water for 6 minutes, then drained (reserve the soaking liquid) and chopped

1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley

2 tsp minced fresh rosemary

zest of 1/2 lemon

1 1/2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Combine everything in a medium work bowl. Taste the tapenade carefully. Does it want the sweetness and moisture from some of the reserved tomato soaking liquid? Does it need a few drops of lemon juice? A shake of Worcestershire sauce to deepen the umami? Do you want it more cohesive? In which case, pulse the tapenade several times in a food processor to achieve the desired consistency.

Let your tapenade ‘marry’ for 4-6 hours at room temperature, or refrigerated overnight. Taste and correct it again, as necessary. This will keep, stored in an air-tight container, for about two weeks.

This spread makes a great foil for polenta hors d’oeuvres. Make your own polenta half moons, or buy those convenient prepared rolls and slice into rounds 1/4″ thick, then in half. On a pre-heated, oiled baking sheet, cook the polentas at 400°F for 10-12 minutes, then turn and cook them for another 8-10. You want them well browned and shrunken. Otherwise, they’ll get floppy when you apply the tapenade to one end–and you don’t want that.

This makes about two cups, which goes a long way as the flavors are concentrated and only ripen over time. One double batch will see you right through the holidays. Unless you’re as greedy as I am for a good tapenade.

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