Olive Tapenade

My mother is an amazing cook and baker. I have learned most of my culinary skills by watching and helping her cook.

When I was little, I remember my mom making loaves of gorgeous french bread and fresh olive tapenade when guests would come over. The cut french bread was placed in baskets, and served with the tapenade as an appetizer. I would eat piece after piece of the delicious bread topped with the salty tapenade. Often, I had to be told to "leave some for the guests".

I remembered the olive tapenade a month or so ago, when I was asked to host a Tu B'Shevat dinner. Since the dinners at Batten are all vegan, I left out the anchovies; even without them, the dish was as perfect as I remembered it to be. Even a friend who said she "didn't like olives" immediately fell in love with it.

This is my mom's recipe (I have no idea where she got it). It takes 5 minutes to make in the Cuisinart (so with this bread it's a total of 10 minutes prep time!), and is a perfect appetizer for any kind of party. Like most easy salsas and spreads, the amount of each ingredient can be varied some to taste.

Olive Tapenade
  • 1 c pitted kalamata olives* (make sure you buy them pitted--pitting them yourself takes forever!)
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 flat anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry (optional if making it vegan or vegetarian)
*I have tasted many types of olive tapenade, and in my opinion it is always better when made with kalamata olives, rather than other green or black varieties.

The stunningly difficult directions: "Put all ingredients in a food processor".  Pulse until combined and spreadable (not long).

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