Monday, April 12, 2010

Tapenade + Pasta ='s one great dish!

Note on pic: I apologize for the lack of green in this pic and the steam clouding the shot (although, it does create atmosphere-lol). Had a seriously hungry family nipping at my heels to eat this. It may not look the prettiest but I can assure you, it was gobbled up in under 5 minutes, which is about how long it took to prepare.

Tapenade is a Provencal dish usually consisting of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies and olive oil. It is a simple dish that is easy to make and oh-so delicious. My husband and I were lucky enough to spend our honeymoon traveling through France and sampled many delicious tapenade recipes while staring out at the gorgeous olive trees that helped create them.

Every time I make it as a dip or spread for a party, people ask me for the recipe. And my son inherited my husbands love for olives so I make it a lot! The beauty of tapenade is that it's not just a dip or spread for crackers or crusty bread. It can be spread on fish or thinned out and tossed into pasta for a unique, no-mayo pasta salad. In this recipe, I broke tradition (like I so often do), by leaving out the anchovies and adding basil and lemon zest. This recipe is fool proof so go ahead, personalize it. Mix up the olives and the flavors a bit, make it your own. Whatever you do, ya gotta bring this dish to your next picnic or BBQ. I just know your friends will be begging for the recipe. Tell them you got it in France. Even if you've never been, I won't tell!

Makes 1 1/4 cups

1 cup pitted olives (any kind. my fave are black oil cured)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup basil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 small clove garlic

1)- Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture is well combined. Be sure to stop the machine to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Process until mixture is a thick paste, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately or place in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Great uses for Tapenade:

As a main dish:

Stir in 1/2 cup Tapenade into warm pasta (see above image). Add in extra olive oil or pasta water to thin out the sauce if needed.

As a fancy-schmancy but oh-so simple appetizer:

Slice a baguette into 1/2-inch pieces. Toast in broiler until light brown. Spread 1 teaspoon of tapenade on each piece of bread. Top with chopped basil or parsley.

As a sandwich spread:

Spread 1 tablespoon of tapenade on a crusty roll. Top with fresh mozzarella, basil, sliced tomatoes and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. This ain't yo mama's caprese sandwich!


  1. Gosh, I love tapenade! What a great idea to mix it with pasta. Looks delicious! Congrats on making the Babble list!! :)

  2. Glad you like it! I have to say, I overate this to the extreme. It was THAT GOOD! Barely a recipe, just a throw together quick and delicious meal. Just the way I like it!

    Thank you for the comment and the kind words!