Tapenade is a garlicky and salty dip from Provence made from olives, garlic, anchovies, almonds and capers
Tapenade is a garlicky and salty dip from Provence made from olives, garlic, anchovies, almonds and capers. This recipe is based on one from chef Anne Willan. I learned to make it while helping her put together the menu for her husband’s birthday party a few years ago. I’m not usually that partial to olives but I love this piquant spread.
This dip is typically made with either black olives or green olives – I personally like the briny, slightly sweet flavor of the Castelvetrano olives used in this particular recipe. This dip can be made ahead of time and stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve on its own or with an antipasto platter.
Tapenades come in all shapes and sizes – well not literally but some tapenades are chunkier, traditionally ones made in a mortar and pestle so the mixture is finely diced with olive oil stirred in. Others are smoother – in this recipe I use a piece of white bread in the mixture to add thickness and texture to the tapenade. Since the anchovies and capers are already salty you won’t need to add any salt. If you find your recipe too far on the briny side add a touch of honey to balance the flavors.
Key Ingredients in This Recipe
White bread – The bread helps to bind the ingredients together as they’re blended for a denser tapenade. It’s best to use a fresh bread in this recipe rather than breadcrumbs since it blends into the dip smoothly rather. For a gluten-free version of this dip omit the bread.
Garlic – The garlic is key in this recipe. It pairs well with the nutty flavor of the almonds and briny olives.
Green olives – While any variety of pitted green olive will add its own unique flavor to this dip, I personally like using Castelvetrano olives the best. They’re from Sicily in southern Italy with a firm texture, with a much milder olive flavor than other varieties enhanced with briny undertones. When I use a jar of green olives I always save the brine to make dirty martinis.
Anchovy – when you thought you couldn’t add any more umami flavor to this recipe, it also uses anchovies! I prefer using oil-packed anchovy fillets for this recipe though about 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste can also be used in their place.
Almonds – I use whole raw almonds in this recipe. As they blend they give the dip more body and an earthy flavor that pairs well with the olives. The almonds help to mellow out the briny elements in the recipe. Many black olive dips use walnuts or omit nuts altogether. If you like the flavor the almonds add, I’d recommend trying this red pepper dip, romesco.
Capers – Capers have a tangy, salty flavor. The edible part of the caper plant is the immature flower buds, which are typically served pickled and packed in oil or salt.
Parsley – I have a preference of using flat-leaf parsley rather than curly/ Italian varieties.
Olive oil – The olive oil works to emulsify with the other ingredients to create a rich dip with a good texture.
Lemon juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice works to brighten up the dip.
How to Make Green Olive Tapenade
Add ingredients to food processor. First, add the bread, garlic, olives, anchovies, almonds, capers and parsley to the bowl of a food processor.
Blend. Next, pulse the food processor until the ingredients are coarsely chopped.
Add the olive oil. With the food processor running, slowly add the olive oil, until the tapenade becomes smooth.
Add the seasonings. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve. Serve at room temperature with toasted baguettes or crackers.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:
½cuppitted green olives, I use Castelvetrano olives
2oil-packed anchovy fillets
1tablespoonoil packed capers,drained and rinsed
2teaspoonschopped flat-leaf parsley
¼cupextra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Add the bread, garlic, olives, anchovies, almonds, capers and parsley to the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse until the ingredients are coarsely chopped. Then, while the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil, until the tapenade becomes smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and season with pepper.
Serve at room temperature with toasted baguettes or crackers. Store in an airtight container topped with a thin layer or olive oil for up to a week.
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