Tapenade

Paleo * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve *

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I worry sometimes that I might be a food hoarder.  I buy replacements for things when they are less than half empty and I must have a complete supply of ingredients on hand at all times.  So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I tell you I just threw this together with stuff I had in the refrigerator.

Now I sometimes justify my immense pantry and overstocked refrigerator with the fact that I am, and have been for the last 30 or so years, a food writer.  There’s nothing more annoying than tasting a recipe you’ve just written and finding that it needs “just a little something” to make it perfect; figuring out that “the little something” should be pomegranate molasses or fresh rosemary (or ketchup or vinegar or garlic powder or fresh lemon juice, etc.), and then finding the bottle empty or the herb very sadly wilted.  So I keep everything imaginable in my refrigerator and pantries (notice there is/are? more than one not-to-neat, over stocked pantry in my New York City apartment – where space is at a premium).

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Tapenade is one of those items I like to have on hand.  It’s fairly salty and slightly acidic so it’s a good perker-upper for dishes that may seem a little bland.  Here’s a sampling of things I might do with it:  Add some to plain spaghetti sauce to make instant Putenesca sauce, stir it into cream cheese or tofutti to make a very zippy cream cheese and olive sandwich (that was when I was eating dairy and wheat), stir it into mayonnaise (or yogurt or some combination of the two) for a dipping sauce for crudities or shrimp or artichokes (microwaved, of course) or for a salad dressing; combine it with diced tomatoes or roasted red peppers as a topping for bruschetta or sauce for fish or chicken; add to vinaigrette to add zip or to use as a marinade; toss a little into scrambled eggs or the filling for omelets; stir some into tuna or egg salad; you get the point.  It’s nice to have something versatile in the fridge when you just need a little something.  Oh, and of course I’ve forgotten the most common use for tapenade which is to serve it as an hors d’ouvre with bread (if you eat it) or (gluten free) crackers.

Tapenade

This is best with kalamata olives (and pitted ones makes it a lot easier), but if you just have plain canned black olives they will do.  You can also use a mixture of black and green olives or stuffed green olives.

1 cup pitted kalamata olives

1/4 cup lightly packed parsley leaves

1 tablespoon capers

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Grated lemon rind or chopped parsley for garnish, optional

1. Place the olives, parsley, capers, and garlic into a food processor container fitted with a steel blade.

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Cover and pulse until finely chopped.

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Spoon olive mixture into a medium bowl; stir in the olive oil, lemon juice.

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Makes: 1 scant cup

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