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Wednesday 9 July 2014

Olive tapenade recipe - you can use green olive, black olives, anchovies.. soooo good!

Its funny.. I hate whole olives... but if you chop them up, mince the, puree them... I love them!  And that said, that's probably why I love olive tapenade.   Its basically chopped, minced or pureed olives with capers, anchovies, feta... so many variations to make a delicious salty savory spread that goes well on crackers, crostinis, bread, sandwiches, chicken, fish, lamb... the possibilities are almost endless.  Its gluten free, and you can easily make it vegan... want it more substantial or complex? Add in some feta or random bits of cheese you have kicking around in your fridge or some marinated peppers or artichokes.  Chop it up if you like it chunky, bring out the mini food processor if you're lazy.. and if you like it smooth, you can puree it to a smooth salty savoy nomnomnom!

I had my first taste of olive tapenade when I travelled around Greece for a month years ago after paying off the student loans and saving up for a trip to reward myself for the years of slogging through post secondary education.  There's about a million variations out there, since there's countless varieties of olives and the variations of +/- anchovies, cheeses, marinated or roasted vegetables folks like to add to it to make it authentic to their region, or just to their taste and call it their own.  Feel free to add in (or not) the optional ingredients to make this flavor packed spread a fav on your tastebuds and in your home for entertaining, or just noshing on cuz you feel like it.  Use a mini food processor - I used my Cuisinart blender stick with food processor attachment for small batches, or a large food processor for large batches if you're planning to entertain. And if you're wondering.. hey, most small packages of anchovies come with 4 or so little fishies.. what do I do with the rest? Well, once you taste this tampenade, you'll be using it to make a second... third batch :D

Olive Tapenade Recipe - makes 1 cup
 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled (use 2 large or 3 small)
1 cup pitted olives rinsed (You can use kalamata, black, green, manzanilla, Italian.. whatever you like or have on hand)
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
pepper to taste
*Optional ingredients
-2-4 anchovy fillets (packed in oil or water - pick out the bones)
-fresh herbs: 2-3 basil leaves or 2-3 sprigs of thyme - just the soft tinny leaves, discard woody stem
-1/2 cup cheese: feta, asiago, parmesan...

How to: 
You can finely chop everything by hand if you prefer it more chunky, add in olive oil last OR...
1) In a mini food processor, toss in the garlic and rinsed capers.  Its important to rinse both olives and capers or your spread will be super dooper salty.  Pulse so the garlic is finely chopped - I love garlic, but I don't want a gigantic chunk in mouth!
2) Add the olives, capers, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and anchovies, fresh herbs and cheese if using. Pulse until everything is finely chopped. Season to taste with pepper.
3) Serve with crackers, bread, crostini, cheese, on top of chicken, fish or lamb or as a spread for sandwiches!

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