In France, among the gastronomics, there is debate as to whether tapenade was traditionally always a vegetarian (though I say, vegan) delicacy, rather than the fishy version. And Monsieur Rémy Pierre, olive grower and tapenade-maker in Octon, in the Languedoc, insists that this is the case.
Of course, many people will know tapenade as having anchovies in it, but these little fishes escape their deaths in the tapenade promoted by Rémy Pierre, and the recipe given by little old moi in this post. I whizzed up this simple tapenade for a vegan potluck evening, and along with some organic breadsticks (made with olive oil, of course), it was a tasty dip and accompaniment to the rest of the meal.
With spring in the air, this tapenade couldn't be more perfect for al fresco dining, entertaining or parties. And since it takes a mere few minutes to 'knock up', it is wonderful when you need something yummy though have little time.
Of course, tapenade is only as good as your ingredients. If you want superior flavour then use the best quality olives and always, always use extra virgin olive oil. If you're happy enough with just a simple but rather tasty dip, without going all olive-snob about it, then a couple of jars of olives will do fine. Having jars of olives in your store cupboard also means you can whip this up at short notice. Although if you DO want to be a snob, get some Languedoc olives.
Anyhow - I shall not harp on for too long about the tapenade. Whether you're just having nibbles with friends or want it to feature on a large buffet table, this is super easy, and tasty as well. Also, it is good for spreading in sandwiches and on toast! And we vegans love ideas for sandwich fillings (try with some sliced avocado and ripe vine tomatoes).
What are you waiting for?!
Green Olive Tapenade (Vegan)
325g / 2½ cups green olives, pitted
4 tablespoons capers, drained
1 tablespoon Herbes des Provence
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1. Process the olives alone in the food processor for a minute or so until well chopped, then pulse in the capers and the Herbes des Provence. You may need to turn off and scrape down a few times. With the blender running, drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil and blend until the tapenade is your desired consistency. If you want a very fine paste (I like it fairly choppy) you might want to add a little more oil, or blend rather than process.
2. Serve with pitta bread or breadsticks, or even spread it on toast.