Lemon and Almond Olive Tapenade
For as long as I can remember, olives have always throned really, really high on my list of bestest, most favoritest foods.
When I was a kid (okay, who the heck am I trying to kid here? This should definitely read: to this day), whenever there’d be a family reunion, there’d invariably be olives on the table and my mom would always have to serve me a serious warning not to touch them until we were seated. The thing is, though, she probably likes ’em as much as I do, so she would often sneakily eat one or two from each “station” before we got to take our seats and began to eat. Of course, I’d be right behind her and eat 2 or 3 olives myself for every one that she ate.
And then I had a daughter, who happens to love olives even more than I do… so now for every one olive that my mom has, I’ll have 2 or 3 and she’ll have 4 or 5. Need I tell you that by the time we get to sit down, the olive offerings have seriously depleted, if not outright vanished.
But we always make sure that we can procure plenty of backup.
One thing worries me a little, though: my daughter is soon to give birth to a baby girl! Now, just how intense will this little girl’s love for olives be, you think? I sort of predict that we’ll eventually have to show up at every family gathering equipped with cases of the delectable gems!
With that in mind, would you believe me if I told you that, despite my colossal (pun definitely intended) love for all things olives, I’d never, ever had tapenade before? Not until now, that is!
When I came across this Olive Tapenade recipe the other day, I knew right then and there that I had to have some of this delicacy. Like right away!
The very next day, I was on it…
I tried to stay as true to the original recipe as I could, but I ended up making a few changes. You know me and sticking to recipes… I just can’t do it. Besides, I figured preserved lemons and olives go so well together, I just had to try and unite them in my tapenade.
I loved how the recipe called for infused olive oil, though, so I totally kept that in.
Since the oil needs to be heated up and then allowed to cool back down, I strongly suggest that you start here. Put the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sage and chili peppers in a small saucepan set over low heat and slowly bring this up to a low simmer, which should take about 4 to 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let it come back down to room temperature.
Meanwhile, in a dry skillet set over medium heat, toast the almonds until slightly colored and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Kill the heat and set aside to cool, until you can handle them safely with your bare hands. Move them around a bit or throw them in the fridge for a wee while if you want to help them cool faster.
Put the cooled toasted almonds in the bowl of your food processor and give them a few quick pulses to chop them up coarsely.
Add the green and black olives, the preserved lemon and anchovies…
and resume pulsing, until all the ingredients are well combined and evenly chopped.
Be careful not to overdo things here: it’s not a paste you’re after. You definitely want there to be chunks and morsels in that beautiful olive spread!
Once your oil has cooled to your satisfaction, transfer your olive mixture to a mixing bowl, add the oil and stir gently with a spoon, until well combined.
You can serve your tapenade immediately or refrigerate it for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld. If time permits, I strongly suggest that you do that. It’ll taste that much better!
Also, this tapenade will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator in an airtight container, so you can very well make it ahead of time if you were to, say, bring it to a family gathering of some kind!
But if you’re gonna do that, you might want to make a double batch. Just in case my evil twin showed up, you know!
Most *normal* people tend to enjoy tapenade with crackers, or crusty bread, but if you love olives as much as I do, you’ll probably want to eat this right out of the bowl, by the spoonful, or even simply enjoy it as a side dish with breakfast…
But if crackers you must have, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered: you’ll be happy to know that I have a fantastic cracker recipe in the pipe just for you… Better not go too far; ‘cuz this recipe is coming soon to a blog near you!
Hey, you may even want to make the tapenade now, that’ll give it a chance to mature by the time you get to make the crackers.
If you haven’t eaten the whole batch by then, that is…
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon chili pepper flakes
- 1 cup pitted green olives
- 1 cup pitted black olives
- 3-4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 1 wedge (1/4 lemon) preserved lemons (or make your own), chopped
- Put the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, sage and chili peppers in a small saucepan set over low heat and slowly bring to a low simmer, which should take about 4-5 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, in a dry skillet set over medium heat, toast the almonds until slightly colored and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Kill the heat and set aside to cool until you can safely handle the nuts with your bare hands.
- Put the toasted almonds in the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few quick times to chop them roughly.
- Add olives, preserved lemon and anchovies and resume pulsing, until all the ingredients are well combined and evenly chopped.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the oil and stir gently with a spoon, until well combined.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld.
- This tapenade will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator in an airtight container.