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A Savory Explosion!

There’s something about anything salty and savory that will always get my attention. Olives, capers, anchovies, in any recipe will certainly make me sit up and take notice. One thing that will give your creativity a boost is having a delicious and versatile olive tapenade on hand. During the holidays I try to incorporate it in appetizers, pasta and entrees in general. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a couple weeks, and if your making a larger batch, freezes well for several months.

Consider the following suggestions for using tapenade:

  1. Serve it on top of hummus for a savory boost

  2. Serve broiled fish with a dollop of tapenade on top

  3. Use tapenade to stuff portabella or cremini mushrooms

  4. Make a cold pasta with veggies and use the tapenade as the dressing with lemon juice

  5. Top burgers with roasted red pepper, cheese and tapenade

  6. Toss with steamed baby potatoes

  7. Use on pizza to replace tomato sauce

  8. Make a sandwich on focaccia with salami, ham, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, red onion, pepperoncini, mozzarella and tapenade

  9. Make a wrap of hummus, red onion, roasted red pepper, arugula and tapenade

  10. Make a pasta with tapenade, cherry tomatoes and toasted breadcrumbs (recipe to follow)

The possibilities for its use is only limited by your imagination! Although you can purchase store bought tapenade, it’s so easy why not make it yourself for a lot less! This blog will focus on whipping up this flavorful Mediterranean olive spread and a easy, crowd pleasing pasta when you’re busy.

OLIVE TAPENADE (MEDITERRANEAN OLIVE SPREAD)

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 6 ounces brine-cured olives, pitted and drained (Manzanillo and or kalamata work well)

  2. 6 ounces California black olives, pitted and drained

  3. 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 2 anchovy filets

  4. 1/4 cup capers, drained

  5. 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley

  6. 3 cloves garlic

  7. 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  8. Couple grinds fresh black pepper

  9. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place drained and pitted olives in the bowl of a food processor. Add anchovy, capers, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and black pepper. Pulse several times until coarsely chopped.

  2. Scrape side with spatula and add olive oil. Pulse several times until a chunky paste forms, scraping sides as needed. Serve at room temperature.

TAPENADE PASTA WITH CHERRY TOMATOES AND TOASTED BREADCRUMBS

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 8 ounces bucatini pasta

  2. 1/2 cup toasted fresh breadcrumbs

  3. 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

  4. 1/2 cup olive tapenade

  5. 3/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated

  6. 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

  7. Freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water generously with salt and then add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions.. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.

  2. While you pasta is cooking heat a few drizzles of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the fresh breadcrumbs and toast them until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

  3. Add the drained pasta back into the pot and add the tapenade, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss well to combine, adding additional pasta water if needed. Add 1/2 the cheese, the cherry tomatoes and parsley. Season with black pepper.

  4. Pile the pasta onto plates or shallow bowls. Top with cheese, parsley and breadcrumbs. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

“First we eat, then we do everything else.”
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