Wednesday, March 11, 2009

118. Tapenade (p. 890) & 119. Green Olive and Almond Tapenade (p. 891)

I really enjoyed making these two recipes. They are delicious and easy to make. But what really made them special was that I made them with my new friend, Melissa.

As I wrote about a few days ago, Melissa was my guest at a lunch presentation about cook-through blogs for my co-workers. It was great to meet Melissa and especially fun to cook with her.

I picked these two recipes for the lunch presentation because they are both quick and require no cooking, just a whiz in the food processor.

The first recipe* was for a pretty traditional black olive tapenade. It only has four ingredients: Klamata olives, garlic, capers and olive oil. The second recipe, which The Book says was a reader recipe from the magazine, changes up the traditional tapenade recipe by substituting green olives for the black ones and adding parsley, lemon juice and almonds. Almonds? Yes, this is yet another recipe in The Book with almonds. What's the deal with all of the almonds? Don't get me wrong, the almonds work in this recipe, it's just that I'm surprised to see all of the unexpected places that almonds keep popping up in The Book.

Because I was doing a cooking demonstration (releasing my inner Julia Child), I got all of my ingredients measured and packed up the night before. The first thing I did was to pit the olives. I started by using my cherry/olive pitter, but after a while, I switched to using the side of a heavy chef's knife. Just smoosh the olive and pick out the pit. Couldn't be easier. I peeled the garlic cloves and measured the capers, parsley, almonds and lemon juice. I packed everything up in individual containers and I was ready to roll.

The preparation for both of these tapenades is the same. Throw all of the ingredients in the food processor and whiz it to a paste. Then add olive oil with the motor running until the consistency is just right. Or at least that's what I'll do the next time I make this. We made the black olive tapenade first, and I just dumped all of the olive oil in at once. The result was the it was too liquidy. Melissa was smarter than me, and added the oil to the green olive tapenade gradually, and the consistency was just right.

Both of these tapenades were very good. Salty and tangy with a nice velvety texture. Both were rich and flavorful. We served the tapenades on crackers and they were a nice canape, but either of these would go well with some grilled chicken or fish. One of my co-workers suggsted tossing a little of the tapenade with some pasta. Sounds good to me.

Date Cooked: February 27, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Very easy
Rating: A-

*The recipe for the traditional tapenade is not on


Melissa Bach Palladino said...

Yay us! And you say the black tapenade was too liquidy, but look at the photo--it's standing up just fine, not runny at all.

Hey, speaking of Julia Child, I just finished "My Life in France"--an autobiography written with the help of her nephew. I was enthralled, and I think you'd like it too!

Adam said...

Oh, I loved that book! I listened to it on audio book last year. I've been meaning to read Judith Jones's book, The Tenth Muse. Have you read it?