I am not one of those people who naturally selects olives as a nibble. It could be because I’ve not tasted many quality olives, or that I have not had them in the right setting, although I do love them in Spaghetti alla Puttanesca – spaghetti as if made by a whore – which is absolutely delicious and a complete taste sensation. But a slight digression from my point.
Occasionally, however, olives do find their way into our kitchen and are often left languishing in the ‘I’m going to freeze you if it’s the last thing I do’ fridge. Which is where little things like tapenade come in very handy.
For those of you who may not be completely au fait with the tapenade, it’s a posh dip which goes very nicely with crisp breads, sticks or slithers of something crispy, and a lovely glass of something refreshing. Yes, we have entered early evening aperitif territory.
Now as you will see from the picture, my tapenade has a slight greenish hue to it which I can explain immediately. In the perfect tapenade recipe, you would use just black olives, but the ones we have in our fridge are combination olives – by that I mean a tub of black and green – so although I put all the black ones in first, I have added some green, just for numbers. But don’t be put off by the colour, if you enjoy the tang of a green olive, you will enjoy them in this tapenade.
Of course if you cannot bear the thought of a green olive passing your lips then the best olives, apparently, are kalamata or nicoise. So now you know.
You don’t need to make heaps of the stuff as, unlike other dippy bits, tapenade is a ‘less is more’ kinda food. A complimentary twinkle rather than a main star.
So, onto business. You will need: 200g black olives, 3 tablespoons capers *, 2 anchovies, I fat clove garlic, 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, juice of half a lemon, 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Put everything barring the oil, into the food processor and whizz up. Add the olive oil through the funnel whilst the processor is still on.
It is worth pointing out here that things like capers and anchovies can often be packed in a whole heap of salt. If so, give them a wash before adding them, otherwise your tapenade will be very salty. Although some may say this is a good thing, and a fine reason for another G & T, salt does take away from the subtleties of the other flavours.
As with all dips, indeed all food, quality controlling as you go is essential. You may need to add a little more lemon, or indeed a shake of pepper, it is entirely up to you. However you decide to indulge, there is one thing that never fails to hit the right spot, and that is the deep end of week feeling, drink in hand, nibble to hand and the last rays of sunshine.
*It is at this point that I realised I hadn’t actually put the capers in my tapenade so stopped writing, got out the food processor, quickly added them in to the mixture, whizzed up, washed up and sat back down to continue writing. That’s the goddess lifestyle for you…