Friday, January 7, 2011

Artichoke Tapenade

Made from ingredients you probably have in your fridge and pantry, this tapenade is an impressive and easy appetizer to toss together.  Inspired by a Mario Batali recipe, what I like about this tapenade, is the ease of ingredient access.  Sure, you could seek out super fancy and expensive olives for this.  And if you do, enjoy!  The type of olive you choose for a tapenade certainly will make your tapenade different from another's.  At some point, I might like to try to make this with picholines, a favorite green olive of mine.  However, I have found that sourcing picholines can be tricky.  I usually only see them as part of an olive medley, or they have already been seasoned a flavored beyond their sweet, slightly woody delicate flavor.

Anyways, the olives I used for this are your basic jarred green olives.  I used Sicilian ones from Pastene, but look in that section of the grocery store and you'll see Sicilian, Queen, Manzanilla from various brands.  All will work here and are very affordable.  To pit the olives, use the heel of your palm to squish the olives hard, so that the flesh comes loose from the pit.

It is very important to squeeze the artichoke hearts to remove as much liquid as possible.  Just put them in your fist and squeeze.  Otherwise you will have soupy tapenade.

Ingredients- makes 2 cups of tapenade
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, then squeezed well of all excess liquid.
  • 1 cup of pitted green olives
  • 1/2 TBS capers, drained and rinsed very well
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 4-5 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Directions
  • Put all ingredients into food processor and buzz until mostly smooth
  • With food processor running, pour in olive oil slowly until desired tapenade texture is achieved 
Serve on baguette toasts or water crackers.  You can also take a few tablespoons and blend into softened goat cheese for a yummy fun spread.

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