The salty earthiness of black olive tapenade is the perfect complement for pasta, spread on crostini or bruschetta, or to top sweet red baked potatoes.
A recipe is only as good as its ingredients, and tapenade is no exception. Use only good-quality, brine-cured olives, not the canned supermarket variety.
If using a food processor instead of the traditional mortar and pestle, be careful not to overprocess. The tapenade should retain some texture. Both large, meaty Kalamata olives and the smaller, sweet Gaeta variety are great in this recipe.
1 1/2 cups Kalamata or Gaeta olives, pitted
3 tablespoons capers, drained
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor or mortar, combine the olives, capers, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Slowly add the oil and pulse or work with the pestle into a coarse paste, retaining some bits of olive and caper for texture. Taste to adjust the seasonings. Stored tightly covered in the refrigerator, this will keep well for a week or two.
Makes about 2 cups.