By • August 26, 2010 7 Comments

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Author Notes: Tapenade is a very versatile condiment. It’s been part of my repertoire since I taught my first Provençal cooking class 25 years ago. The consensus of my classes is that no one who likes to cook—or to eat— should be without this recipe. It’s incredibly easy to make (in a food processor), and definitely satisfies the universal salt craving in a most sophisticated fashion!ChefJune

Makes about 2 cups

  • 1 pound large plump ripe olives (they should be slightly wrinkled, cured in oil rather than brine)
  • 1 2-ounce tin anchovies preserved in olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
  • 3 tablespoons capers preserved in vinegar, well drained
  • 3 tablespoons best quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Pit the olives with an olive pitter, or crush the olive meat (but not the pit) with the flat side of a large knife or cleaver, and remove the seed. Put the olive meat into a food processor fitted with the metal blade.
  2. Add the tin of anchovies with oil, and the garlic, capers, and olive oil and a few good turns of the pepper mill. Pulse with on/off switch to blend the ingredients together all at once. Keep this preparation brief so that the purée retains a coarse texture
  3. Teacher's Tips: To store the Tapenade for future use, pack it in small jars (preferably glass). Cover jars tightly and refrigerate. [I’ve known it to keep as long as 2 months.]
  4. Tapenade is a very versatile condiment. You can spread it on toasted slices of French bread and serve it with aperitifs; serve it as an hors d’oeuvre with raw vegetables and hard boiled eggs or use it as the basis for a sandwich. Spread it on a long thin baguette of French bread, split in half and lightly toasted, then layer the sandwich with slices of tomato, hard-boiled eggs, sweet spring onions and a few anchovy fillets (or chunks of well-drained canned tuna). It also perks up the flavor of a turkey sandwich, when used as a substitute for mayonnaise.

More Great Recipes: Fish & Seafood|Fruit|Appetizers|Condiments|Hors d'oeuvres

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Comments (7) Questions (0)


10 months ago Simon Kaheru

I followed this recipe (not to the letter, since my olives were already sliced and preserved in brine rather than olive oil) and my wife and one daughter approved (wife being the polite person she is, but daughter without reservation) while my son and other daughter gave me a firm thumbs down, but both can't stand olives and anchovies so...MY verdict is what counted the most, and I believe I will be doing this every other day! It tasted great on bread and with my fresh veggie salad. At one point I will replace the anchovies with a Ugandan variety called Angarra, and the Ugandan olives that we call Empaffu, and I will revert with an update. ;-)


about 4 years ago SouffleBombay

Anything with capers is good in my book! Sounds wonderful


about 3 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Did you know that "Tapena" is the Provençal word for Capers? And for the locals, the essential ingredient for any Tapenade, olive or otherwise, is Capers.


about 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This recipe is wonderful have seen so many variations this is a real classic recipe.


about 5 years ago lapadia

Just saw this....LOVE IT, thanks for sharing it!


about 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

To die for! It's a classic for good reason. No wonder it's so universally loved. Thanks so much for posting this. ;o)


about 5 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

One of my good friends loves to spread this on slices of raw, red onion.