Time for a confession – and I hope this doesn’t make you scroll past this recipe, because it’s good, I promise – it used to be that every time I would hear the word “tapenade” or I see it at a deli I’d sort of scrunch up my nose and think judgmental thoughts about the general lameness of tapenade. I mean, really. It’s mashed up olives. This is a simple, plain truth. What also is simple and plain and true is that a very good tapenade can be easily made, and surprise … it’s still just smashed up olives. The next time I throw a party, there will be a multitude of tapenades because the sky is the limit when it comes to flavour combinations, especially if you can get your hands on a variety of olives.
If you didn’t have green olives you could try black. No artichokes? No problem, try red pepper. This particular tapenade packs a punch thanks to a dose of fresh chili but if you don’t like it spicy, dial the chili back, or leave it out entirely.
And since we are entering the holidays and you’ll want to show up, when invited,with something to share or just to hand to your host, whip up a jar or two, it will only take you 10 minutes to make (hint – if you don’t char the artichokes, no one will notice). It is easy to make and it will more than deliver when it comes time to smear some on a cracker and get snacking. You’ll be smugly sipping your wine as everyone asks you where you got it. Then you can say “Oh, I made it.” No scrunched up noses and dubious looks at that party table! No sir, you and your smashed up olives will be the life of the party.
Green Olive and Roasted Artichoke Tapenade
1 cup pitted green olives
zest of 1 lemon
1 can artichoke hearts, drained well
1 clove of garlic
1 small chili
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.
Char the artichokes in a hot dry pan until they are slightly blackened. Combine them with the other ingredients, in a food processor, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. If the texture seems too dry (depends on how well drained your artichokes were), add a bit more olive oil so that you have a spreadable consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. In a tight sealing jar, this tapenade will keep for up to a week. Serve with veggies, with crackers, on sandwiches, or toss with hot pasta for a simple sauce.