Ok, so we’ve gone from gorgeous-epitome-of-summer watermelon salad cups to a rather lackluster serving of tapenade. I get it, tapenade isn’t exactly the most beautiful food creature on the planet, but sometimes, the dullest most mundane looking foods are actually the ones that have the most flavor. And this olive tapenade is no exception.
While the colors are slightly muted and lack the summery brightness I adore this time of year, a great olive tapenade is something everyone should have up their sleeve for entertaining.
I’m probably mentioning this for the umpteenth time, but as a kid, I was a seriously into food, all thanks to my mother who introduced me to all kinds of adult foods that other kiddos would probably refuse to even look at. My parents threw parties pretty often growing up, so not only was I introduced to more “grownup” or gourmet food from the meals she made, but also as a result of lingering at some of their gatherings. (My first time making crab cakes was at one of their Christmas parties where I cranked out something around 50 mini crab cakes for all of their friends….when I was eight…) She always made a couple of new items for each party, but there were a couple of staples that made an appearance at almost every event: salmon cheesecake (sounds kind of strange, but it’s DELICIOUS), sausage rolls and olive tapenade.
You can go many directions when it comes to tapenade and use whatever medley of olives you like, but I prefer a 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup ratio of good-quality green olives (with pimentos for color) to Kalamata (Greek) olives. The green olives have a bit more of a salty bite to them, while the Kalamata olive are more briny than anything else, a flavor I love.
The olives along with a generous handful of flat-leaf parsley, capers, garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and a little bit of olive oil are thrown into a food processor (or blender, whatever you have on hand) and pulsed until the ingredients are mostly combined, but still have a good amount of texture to them. It’s my personal preference to stop before it’s completely pureed because I like to see all the different flecks of green, purple and red from the olives, parsley and pimentos. Plus, it makes it a little prettier to look at.
Because the olives, capers and anchovy paste are salty on their own, I find it’s not necessary to season with extra salt, but obviously it’s a personal preference.
Once the dip is whirled together, it’s transferred to a serving dish and serving with whatever accoutrements you’d like. I served it with some leftover flatbread and roasted garlic bagel chips, but any variety of veggie would be great or even crusty pieces of ciabatta bread.
- ½ cup green olives with pimento
- ¾ cup kalamata olives
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 3 tablespoons parsley
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- Place all ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until the mixture is combined, but still has texture to it.
- Transfer it to a serving dish and serve with chips, veggies or bread.
- Can be refrigerated for a week.