My fiancé has told me that I have to explain what black olive tapenade is, because, in his own words, ‘he’s uncultured and doesn’t have a clue what it is’. He also thought it was pronounced ‘tape-nade’… it’s not. It’s ‘tap-uh-naad’. Please don’t call it tape-nade in public unless you want some funny looks. If you, like him, don’t know what it is, the best way I could find to describe it was ‘a bit like pesto, but not really like pesto at all’. As in, it has completely different ingredients, but it’s essentially a similar thing – a paste made from several ingredients that you can use in lots of different ways.
Perhaps tapenade is a little ugly, but we’ve established many times that ugly food is usually delicious (like my white bean pâté with black olives and sun-dried tomatoes – what is it with olives making everything ugly?!). Let’s not dwell on how it looks. Instead let’s talk about how it tastes, which is all we really care about right? And this tapenade tastes amazing. Garlicky and tangy, it’s ridiculously full of flavour.
I had this slathered (very) liberally on some warm, crusty bread with grilled halloumi cheese. I made such a mess, tapenade spilling everywhere, it was great. And I know, I’m ridiculously predictable for serving this with cheese (I’ll come up with a cheeseless recipe soon, I swear!), but despite the fact that the tapenade itself is vegan, it goes really well with dairy, since it provides a nice contrast to the tangy acidity of the tapenade.
If you’re not a halloumi fan (what?) there are lots of other ways to use tapenade: stirred through pasta, dolloped into your soup, spread on toast, mixed through a risotto… this recipe makes around a cup, so there’s even scope for trying out more than one of these ideas! I’d love to hear your ideas if you have any others – I have about half of this recipe left for dinner tonight so I’m open to suggestions!
Although the garlic is a major part of what makes this tapenade (and, really, most things that include garlic) amazing, remember that it’s raw - so don’t be tempted to go overboard! One small-medium clove is enough for the whole recipe. You might also want to avoid making this before any important events – first dates, business meetings, or your wedding, to name but a few. Any other occasion, go for it! It’s worth it, I promise.
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 2tbsp capers
- 100g black olives
- 2tbsp fresh parsley
- 1tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and blitz until a paste is formed (I like to keep mine fairly coarse). Season to taste.
- Serve on bread or toast, with pasta, in soup, or however else you fancy it.