Olive Tapenade


Fresh Olive TapenadePhoto by: David Beeler


Tapenade originates in the Provence, where it started as a paste made of capers, anchovies, and garlic – ingredients readily available in the South of France.  It became popular very quickly and was adapted by many Mediterranean cultures, each culture adapting the tapenade recipe to their taste, availability of ingredients and culture.  These days practically all tapenades have one ingredient in common: olives.  Tapenade frequently includes other ingredients, such as garlic, lemon juice, herbs and olive oil.

Originally, tapenade has a paste-like consistency and is prepared with mortar and pestle.  For this recipe, I decided to go a bit coarser and actually use the food processor.  It was the convenient way as I felt that mortar and pestle would give me more of a workout than I wanted at the time.  Thank heavens for our modern-day conveniences kitchen appliances.

Want a home made appetizer that can be made in advance?  Here you go!  The toasting of the bread takes longer than the making of the tapenade itself.  And both can be made the day before use.  Transfer the tapenade to a non-aluminum bowl or jar, tightly covered, and refrigerate up to 48 hours.  The bread can be toasted in advance as well.  Store it in an airtight container and you’re golden on the day of.

Finally, allow me to tell you that this tapenade is a burst of flavor.  No store-bought tapenade comes close.  Yep, it’s convenient to buy it ready to go, but home-made gives it just that “little extra”.  I strongly recommend it.

Olive Tapenade


  • 1-1/2 cups (7-1/2 oz./235 gr.) pitted mild brine-cured green olives such as Luques or picholines, black Niçoise olives, or a combination of several kinds
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3 tbsp. capers, rinsed
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. Cognac or brandy
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground white pepper
  •  1/4 cup (2 fl.oz./60 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 thin baguette slices
  • olive oil



  •  To make the tapenade, combine the olives, anchovies, capers, parsley, garlic, Cognac, lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp. white pepper in a food processor.
  • Pulse once or twice to combine roughly, then add the olive oil and pulse briefly, stopping to scrape down the bowl sides once or twice.
  • The texture should be chunky, rather than a smooth puree.  Set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. (180 C.) and arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet.
  • Brush them lightly with olive oil and bake until golden, 10-15 minutes.
  • Transfer the toasted baguette slices to a serving platter.
  • Spread each one with about 1 tablespoon of the tapenade.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 24 bites


(Recipe by: Williams-Sonoma, adapted by Marieke Beeler)


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