A tapenade is a chopped spread for an edible "platform" such as bruschetta crisps, grilled French bread, toast points, crackers, white bread, pita bread, celery or other crudites; and for stuffing mushrooms, topping pasta or using on homemade pizza.
The Romans and French both claim them as their dish, although the word tapenade is derived from the French word for capers. That said, the must-have ingredient in tapenades is olives, not capers, although tradition for some is olives, capers and anchovies, all ingredients readily found in regions of France, Italy and Spain.
Here in the South, we take many liberties with tapenades, and adapt them to our own uses. In New Orleans, it becomes an olive salad that goes on a muffaletta sandwich after being mixed with varied ingredients such as cauliflower, celery and carrots that have nothing to do with French or Italian recipes for tapenade. Make extra and freeze it for another time.
3 garlic cloves
2 anchovy fillets
1 teaspoon pine nuts
1/3 cup pitted black olives
1/3 cup pitted brine-cured olives such as kalamata
11/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Add the garlic, drained anchovies, pine nuts and both olives to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel chopping blade. Process or chop the ingredients until smooth. Using the pulse button add the olive oil and lemon juice a little at a time. Season with pepper to taste.
Nathalie Dupree is the author of 13 cookbooks, most recently the James Beard award-winning "Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking." She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com
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