Black Olive Pesto

January 27, 2012 § 4 Comments

I’ve been making something lately that I’ve been calling olive tapenade.  I love it.  I can’t get enough of it.  I put it on everything.  Obviously I thought I should share it here, because this is where I put things that I like, but in the process, I discovered that I haven’t been making tapenade at all.  You see, by definition, “tapenade” is only “tapenade” when made with capers (you know, those tiny green berry-looking things that are usually right near the olives the grocery store).  So what have I been making? Olive pesto, olive spread, olive stuff?  I’m not sure, or sure that it even matters, because whatever its name is, it makes almost everything I cook taste better.

I’ll typically make a batch, put it in a jar in the refrigerator, and then wait to see what I can put it on throughout the week.  Lately, it’s been going everywhere: pizzas, roasted chicken, stirred into warm bowls of bean or vegetable soup (my favorite), spooned on top of plain vegetables, on little toasts, and finally, when there is only a little left, I add more oil and some vinegar to make a dressing for salad. It’s versatile, uses 5 ingredients (counting olive oil and salt), and takes about 5-10 minutes to make, even if you chop everything by hand (which is what I’ve been doing b/c I can’t find the blade to my food processor).  See why I love it?  Also, this is one of those things that tastes so much better when you make it yourself, and to make it costs a fraction of what it costs to buy already made.

Find more ideas on how to use it here, and, if you make it, let me know your favorite ways to use it.

Quick Black Olive Pesto

Have a small jar or mixing bowl available.  Pit and finely chop about 25 black olives (Niçoise are pricey, so I use Kalamata).  Finely chop 1-2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary OR thyme.  In a mortar and pestle (or on a cutting board with the side of a chef’s knife), smash 1-2 (depending on how you feel about garlic) small garlic cloves with a 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, until a paste forms.  Mix olives, herbs and garlic paste together in small jar or bowl.  Add 3-5 tablespoons of good olive oil and stir to combine. taste to see if it needs salt (mine never does, but you have to check).

Optional additions: lemon zest (really good), crushed red pepper flakes, a teaspoon or two of red wine vinegar.

Makes approximately one cup.


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§ 4 Responses to Black Olive Pesto

  • Elena says:

    I made your olive pesto for a baby shower last night. I used rice crackers spread w/ a layer of goat cheese and then topped it w/ the olive pesto. I also made the salted caramel sauce–it was gratifying to make w/ getting all the sugar to melt evenly and then putting in the butter and cream to cause all those velvety bubbles. Thanks for keeping my on-hand recipe files so exciting and easy-to-use! Hope you are well over there. :)

  • Cindy says:

    I was just wondering aloud what I should be doing with olive tapanade. Thanks!

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