Olive me!

Sometimes, the simplest ingredients can turn into the best meals or in our case, a tasty starter. Tapenade is one of the easiest things to make and it’s perfect for an evening in when no one wants to do the dishes. You can also dress it up (or not…) for guests. All you need are olives and a few other staple ingredients.

Capers and anchovies are commonly found in tapenade, but I like to switch them up for basil or sundried tomatoes.

Here’s my basic variation:

  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups black olives (about 27), pitted – green ones can also be used if you prefer them
  • 1 bunch fresh basil (about 13 leaves)
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon, to taste
  • 6 slices sundried tomato, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
  • ground black pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Blend for about 1 minute or until the mixture has a fine, grainy texture. Season with ground pepper. Blend until ground pepper is well incorporated. Taste mixture and add more lemon juice or olive oil as desired. Spread on toasted bread or crackers. To dress it up, top the tapenade with a slice of smoked salmon or accompany with sliced proscuitto. Makes about 2-3 cups (Serves 4-6).

If you have olives stuffed with almonds, use them! The nuts can give the tapenade a nice texture and an extra crunch. If the olives have been marinated in herbs and/or other seasonings, just give them a good rinse under the tap so that the flavourings don’t clash with the basil. Enjoy!

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