Friday, March 20, 2009

Olive Tapenade

I've never met an olive I didn't like. Okay I should say love, like love, love. I know, you're thinking if you love olives so much, why don't you just marry one? And if I weren't a recently married woman, I might just consider it. When you have a love affair with olives like I do, it's highly probable that you often find yourself with far more in the fridge than two people could possibly eat. So what do you do when you have 5 tonnes (okay, a couple of jars) of olives kicking around? Well you invite some people over and make an olive tapenade, of course!

Perhaps the most delicious and easiest appetizer around is olive tapenade with crostini or crackers. If you're wondering what crostini is, it's toasted bread, such as baguette or ciabatta, plain and simple. So we're talking about throwing some olives and a few other ingredients into a food processor, pulsing a few times and there you have it, a fantastic appetizer in 5 minutes or less. This can also be made simply in a mortar and pestle. Olive tapenade is simple to make, healthy and utterly delicious. It really does not get better than that.

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network:
3/4 lb pitted black olives, such as Kalamata, Nicoise, or Gaeta
3 to 4 oz capers, drained and rinsed
2 anchovy fillets, drained, rinsed and patted dry
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 bay leaf, finely chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarsley pureed.

Serve with crusty bread, pasta, crackers or vegetables.

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