Tapenade

Tapenade by the james kitchen
Tapenade, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.
This is in my book the best recipe for the provençal black olive paste: it is simple and elegant. Jet black velvet like caviar and an intensive, deep taste of olive. You might want to alter some of the ingredients or change the amounts; it all depends on the intensity of the olives. Other recipes add lemon juice, capers or a whopping amount of anchovies. I prefer the dominance of the main ingredient and if served alongside another provençal classic, the anchoïade – anchovies paste, there would be simply too much fish in both. This summer we had these on tiny little toast breads as amuse-bouches with the first (& second) glass of cold rosé

One word about the olives: I buy really dark, salt and sort of semi dried black olives (not in brine) at my Turkish grocer, they are sold in different sizes and I choose the smaller ones which have a really intensive black colour and taste. And they are unpitted, so there is a little work to be done and if one does not want to have black fingernails for a week – better wear some gloves.

Tapenade
makes one small jar

400g (14 oz) black olives
3 anchovies
3 garlic cloves
olive oil (extra virgin, as always)
pepper

Pit the olives (you might have about 250g), chop the garlic and anchovies and put all the ingredients together with a few splashes of olive oil into a food processor and pulse until you get a rough, grainy sauce, you do not want to get to a fine purée. Add a bit more oil if the mixture is too dry and compact, the consistency should resemble a granita.
Serve with/on toasts, croutons, crackers or anything you might imagine or use to make these pretty palmiers.

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