I don’t know about y’all, but I love dips/spreads/etc. I think it’s mostly because I love tasting little bits of everything. [Alll of my friends will attest to the fact that I have a
terrible not-so-bad habit of eating (I call it ‘tasting’) off of everyone’s plate. #biggirlalert. I usually wait until I know they’re done… (sorry, Kacey…)]
For that reason, going out for tapas is probably one of my favorite things to do – because you get to taste little bits of everything! My most memorable meals are over plates of incredible Spanish tapas in some fab cities with a pitcher of sangria. [Don’t forget about sangria à la Brenna et Alex!] When you’re not focused on downing a big entrée, you can focus on and savor the intense flavors of each bite. *sigh* I digress… this post isn’t even supposed to be about tapas. I blame Barbri for turning my brain into mush.
Moving on: TAPENADE. I usually bring hummus to get-togethers with my friends because it’s quick and easy and everything generally likes it. But I wanted something new to try. And so, given my addiction to mediterranean cuisine, olive tapenade seemed like a good place to start. I did not use a food processor (part out of necessity, part out of wanting to do it old school), and it ended up being fun project to do with a friend of mine. Our tapenade yielded a coarser, chunkier product than that you would get if buying it already made. But it seemed more authentic to us, and we both preferred that consistency over something more paste-like. But, that being said, feel free to use a food processor or high power blender if you want!
two olive tapenade
2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced like crazy
1 1/2 c kalamata olives, pitted
1 cup black Greek olives, pitted
2 heaping Tbs capers
1/4 tsp dried thyme (yield on the side of more, if you like thyme like me!)
freshly ground black pepper
EVOO, for drizzling to taste
To mince the garlic to high heavens, my friend taught me a neat trick: coarsely chop the garlic then sprinkle salt over it (this keeps it from sticking to your knife!), then run the flat side of your blade over the garlic, smashing it down as you go. It should get pretty flat on your cutting board and not stick to your knife. Then, chop away at it again, followed by another smashing. Keep repeating those steps until you get a really finely chopped product.
To pit your olives, press the flat side of your knife blade on top of a few olives and the pits will start to release and the olive with kind of burst open. Then just peel the olive meat off of the pit! It goes by pretty quickly, so don’t be discouraged! Chop up all your olives, as finely or as coarsely as desired. (We did a pretty coarse chop.)
Smash your capers, too. This is easy because there are no pits and they give under the pressure of a knife blade nicely.
Mix everything together in a mixing bowl, and add a drizzle of olive oil to get everything moist and blended. Aaaand voilà! You have officially made homemade tapenade. *applause*
Grab a friend and start chopping, pitting, and mincing away! It’s a fun kitchen activity to do over a glass of wine with some good company. Serve with some nice bread or toast points and you’ve got yourself a fancy app that will impress even the snobbiest of guests 😉
Eat up, y’all!