5 Ingredients or Fewer


August 26, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Makes about 2 cups
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Simon Kaheru
    Simon Kaheru
  • SouffleBombay
  • lapadia
  • AntoniaJames
  • ChefJune
30+ years a chef, educator, writer, consultant, "winie," travel guide/coordinator

11 Reviews

Simon K. October 20, 2014
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. ;-)
ChefJune February 28, 2017
I would love to taste those Ugandan anchovies and olives.
Simon K. March 1, 2017
@ChefJune: You are most certainly welcome to visit one of these days and try it out! :-)
ChefJune March 1, 2017
Are you in Uganda?
Simon K. March 1, 2017
Yes, ma'am! Right here in the Pearl of Africa (or the Heart of Africa, as some say). Enjoying lots of fantastic food and always looking out for new recipes and ideas...
ChefJune March 1, 2017
One of these days....
SouffleBombay June 21, 2011
Anything with capers is good in my book! Sounds wonderful
ChefJune June 1, 2012
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.
lapadia August 26, 2010
Just saw this....LOVE IT, thanks for sharing it!
AntoniaJames August 26, 2010
To die for! It's a classic for good reason. No wonder it's so universally loved. Thanks so much for posting this. ;o)
ChefJune August 26, 2010
One of my good friends loves to spread this on slices of raw, red onion.