Olive tapenade is delicious, easy to make and can be used as a dip, sandwich spread or topping for fish and poultry. This black olive tapenade is packed with classic Mediterranean ingredients like lemon zest, capers, aromatic herbs, and rich extra-virgin olive oil.
Italy’s beautiful countryside is an inspiration for food lovers. I, for one, am constantly inspired by the vast array of herbs and fruit trees that surround me. The other day I was playing outside with the kids where the olive trees line the entrance to our property. My son loves olives and so he attempted to pick some from the olive tree to eat them right then and there, as he always does with fresh figs. Watching him jumping in delight trying to grab a few olives made me stop and think about how much I too love olives. For lunch I prepared this rich black olive tapenade appetizer, served with some fresh Italian crusty bread, and as you can imagine both my son and I (and the rest of the family) devoured it.
Fresh homemade olive tapenade makes a perfect dinner party appetizer and comes together in minutes. It’s traditionally served with bread, crostini, or crackers, but speaking from experience, it makes for a fantastic flavour addition to many meals. Serve it as a dip, a spread for sandwiches or a condiment for fish and poultry. I even add this olive spread to baked potatoes, eggs, and pasta dishes.
There are many different variations of tapenades, since you can make them with just about any type of olive and herb or spice. Many recipes also call for lemon zest and anchovies, however, if you omit them, the tapenade will still be bright and flavourful. Although black olive tapenade is my all-time favourite, green olive tapenade is just as delicious. My suggestion is to play with the recipe and ingredient ratios until you acquire that perfect balance to suit your tastes. Start with the base ingredients then add more ingredients, depending on your flavour preferences. On that note, I’m assuming that many people will omit the anchovies-simply because most people don’t care for their texture or pungent, fishy flavour. However, you must take my word that they blend perfectly in the tapenade and add a rich, briny flavour. Most importantly, be sure to use fresh, quality ingredients, as they will make or break this recipe. Choose fresh olives and herbs, and a good quality extra-virgin olive oil. Look for one with a deep green hue and thick consistency. No imposters allowed!
You can even prepare this tangy spread way ahead of time, since it will last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. Make a batch to keep in the fridge for enhancing your meals throughout the week. To maintain freshness, cover the tapenade with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil and store in an airtight container.
If you try this recipe (and love it!) be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram with #bitesforfoodies so I can see your creation!