A simple recipe originating from Marseille in Provence, made of olives, anchovies, capers, garlic and herbs, this black olive tapenade is packed with heart-healthy nutrients. It incorporates many essential ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet. It is delicious, versatile, and will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
Ingredients and variations
Do not used canned olives or you will be disappointed with the outcome…You can experiment with a variety of olives, oil cured, dry cured or in brine. I find that Kalamata olives work well when I don’t have the luxury of having petite Niçoise olives on hand.
Use as much or as little garlic as you like. For my part, I like a lot, and usually double the amount called for in the recipe…Garlic’s health benefits have long been established!
Dijon mustard is optional, but it adds a nice little tang.
As for herbs, basil is a classic, but other herbs that grow in Provence are welcome in the mix: rosemary or oregano are great additions. Just play with what you have on hand.
You can also add sundried tomatoes as a variation.
Hand chop or food processor?
I like this black olive tapenade hand chopped. Biting into a salty chunk of olive or a sharp piece of garlic just makes me happy. But if you prefer, you can use a food processor. The result will be smoother. Just combine all ingredients in the bowl of the food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process in pulse mode, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until you have an even coarse paste (it will take you about a minute total).
You can also use a mortar and pestle.
How to use black olive tapenade
Serve as a spread on toasted French or Italian bread, on crackers, as a dip with pita chips or vegetables, as a topping for fish or grilled meat, mixed into pasta, swirled into mashed potatoes, as a sandwich spread…. the possibilities are endless!
So, pour yourself a glass of Provence rosé wine while you make a batch and get ready for a trip to la Belle France!
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Black olive tapenade
- Chop olives as fine as you can on your cutting board, then mash them with the blade of your knife to finish turning them into a rough paste. Place into a bowl.
- Do the same with anchovies, garlic and capers. Add to the bowl.
- Chop the herbs finely. Add to the bowl.
- Add mustard, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix with a spatula until well combined.
- Serve or refrigerate, covered until ready to use.