We owe a big thank you to the cuisine of Provincial France for tapenade, a savory black olive paste that is absolutely divine on bread, pasta, or salads. It‘s a cinch to make and completely versatile: you can use it as an appetizer, snack, salad, side, or as a tasty condiment for your main dish.
This version adds sweet onions and red bell peppers to the usual olives, capers, garlic, and olive oil. Heart-nurturing fatty acids and the healthful properties of garlic are just a few of the reasons this robust spread (or dip or condiment) is such a popular feature of the Mediterranean diet.
1/2 cup Vidalia onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup sweet red onions, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 clove garlic, crushed
freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons red or orange bell peppers, finely chopped
1. In a small bowl, mix the onions, olives, and capers.
2. Pulse lemon juice, oil, parsley, oregano, lemon zest, and garlic in a food processor for 3 to 5 seconds, then pour over onion-olive mixture and combine with a fork.
3. Place tapenade in a serving bowl, season with pepper to taste, top with chopped peppers, and serve.
Tapenade may be used as a dip for pita, spread on bruschetta or sliced baguette, on top of a mixed greens salad, or as a topping for rice, potato, or pasta.
Yields about 2 cups.
Inspired by The Onion Harvest Cookbook, by Barbara Ciletti (Taunton, 1998).