Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Perfect Tapenade

With autumn just round the corner I'm clinging on to the late summer evenings in the garden, I may well need a sweater but with a few candles flickering, the right wine and a bowl of tapenade I can still imagine warm summer evenings, maybe by the sea ...............

Tapenade is a very simple dip to make. Everyone thinks of it as an olive dip but originally it was capers that formed the main body of the paste. It originated from Provence and tapeno is french for caper bud - hence the name 'Tapenade' - it was originally made with the caper mush left in the bottom of the jars of preserved capers. These days it's olives that are the main ingredients ...... can you tell I've been reading my cookery books before writing this post!!!

When I make up a batch of tapenade, I like to vary the flavours depending of my tastes for that day. Whilst I keep the ratio of capers, olives, oils and lemon juice the same, I will vary the amounts of anchovy, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and herbs.

Whichever way you decide to flavour it, here's my basic recipe and you can adjust it to your tastes - it's a very forgiving dip and is easy to alter.

Recipe - enough for 4 ( a little goes a long way)

200g Spanish couchillo or kalamata olives
3 tablespoons capers
3 anchovies
1 clove garlic
3 sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
5 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and zest lemon
Black pepper
Sun dried tomato paste - optional

This has the potential of being a very salty dish so, to reduce this, rinse the capers and anchovies before starting.

Simply place the olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and lemon zest into the blender and give it all a good whizz.

You want it to be finely chopped but not turned to a paste.

Add your olive oil, half the lemon juice and the thyme. Give it another quick blend, taste, and add more lemon juice if you wish a sharper taste. Now you can squeeze in a little sun dried tomato paste if you want a richer flavour and season with a few grinds of black pepper. Serve straight away or it will keep in the fridge for upto a week.

Serve with bread, savoury biscuits or breadsticks to scoop it up and, of course a good robust red wine.

Have a lovely day
Love Lizx