Tapenade is tasty, but tends to be too salty and too heavy for my tastes. I ended up with some gorgeous mixed olives, courtesy of Scuba New York (long story), and wanted to put them to good use. For the basics on how to make a traditional olive tapenade, take a look at Alton Brown’s video: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/tapenade-recipe.html
I lightened it up a bit by adding 1 can each of chickpeas and unsalted mushrooms (store brand “stems and pieces”). It would be good with fresh mushrooms too, pre-sautéed to remove excess moisture. I think it would be magical with assorted exotic mushrooms. The mild ones I used are barely discernable in the final spread, but add a subtle earthy undertone that complements the olives nicely, without it tasting too diluted.
- 1/2 pound mixed olives, pitted
- 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 can chickpeas (15 oz, rinsed and drained)
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 can unsalted mushrooms
- 2-4 TB extra-virgin olive oil
- 3-4 basil leaves
- Start with the garlic and the mushrooms in the food processor, and pulse until broken into small pieces.
- Add the chickpeas and mushrooms and pulse until broken up.
- Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil, pulse a few times, scrape down side of bowl, then add oil in thin stream while blade is spinning.
- Adjust seasonings to taste, then allow to rest at least 30 minutes before serving to allow flavours to blend and rawness of garlic to dissipate.
Pictured: Christmas brunch of anchovy omelette with tomato and basil, topped with the tapenade.