Introducing another refrigerator staple: tapenade! Our favorite version has three olives in the mix; therefore, the name. Clever, eh? Obviously, our version does not contain the traditional anchovies, but it doesn’t lack for taste, either. We like to keep tapenade on hand for pizza night, but it also makes a great appetizer or snack with crusty bread or crackers. Some nights when we are feeling lazy and “snacky” (which can be a dangerous combination!) we will make a meal of tapenade and roasted garlic with a good loaf of bread and a bottle of our favorite red wine.
We prefer the visual appeal of the chunky bits and pieces of olives and capers accentuated by the red pimentos, rather than the finely ground blackish paste that we see in restaurants. While we can’t prove it, we believe that the visual appeal makes the chunky version taste better, too! We always rinse the olives and capers beforehand with plenty of water (that might be considered blasphemy in the south of France where tapenade is said to originate) and we do not add salt to our version, either.
Aside from being healthier and just plain feeling better overall, J and I noticed that after we began eating a plant-based diet (with a lot less reliance on processed foods) that our palates began to evolve, along with our thinking. We became very sensitive to sodium, and its excessive use in manufactured and prepared foods. We will often omit salt entirely from our recipes (baked goods being the exception) and individually add a sprinkle of freshly ground sea salt at serving time. Vive la low blood pressure!
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Three Olive Tapenade
1 cup whole pitted green olives with pimentos, rinsed
1 cup whole pitted black olives, rinsed
1 cup whole pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed
2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 Tablespoon garlic, crushed
1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning
1 – 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Measure out the olives and the capers into a fine mesh strainer and rinse well. Let drain.
For a very coarse texture, chop the olives and capers on a large cutting board with a sharp knife. Combine with the remaining ingredients and mix well. Or, place all ingredients in a [crappy*] food processor and process just until coarse.
Serve the tapenade at room temperature on an appetizer plate or in individual small bowls drizzled with olive oil (optional) and enjoy!
*I keep an old Hamilton Beach blender with a food processor attachment in the back of my cupboard just for making tapenade. This food processor is a total piece of crap (it has one consistency ability: chunky) compared to my newer and larger machine. I would have donated it to Goodwill years ago, but I discovered that it makes a perfect batch of tapenade quicker and easier than hand chopping.