Walnut and Olive Tapenade is the perfect accompaniment for hors-d’oeuvres, served in a small bowl, surrounded by tiny toasted bread slices/crunchy veggies or tossed with linguine or as spread for sandwiches.
Olives are an acquired taste for those who have not grown up with them. I, however, latched on to their taste and flavor with fervor and began my love affair. I like eating them as is, for a snack. And so does my daughter.
The color of the olives indicates the time that they are picked. Green olives are picked when young and black olives when they are ripe. They are inedible when raw and extremely bitter. Olives have to be cured. The most common method of curing is with lye and saltwater brine. Some are dry cured like the Moroccan olives.
The olives you get on pizzas at Pizza Hut or Dominos are highly processed and rubbery olives, so are the ones that come in cans labeled “ripe” and deprived of oxygen, to change color. They are not bad for you but they don’t taste anything like the real olives.
Read this wonderful article in Epicurious by Janet Rausa Fuller on the different types of olives and how to choose them.
Always store opened olives in plenty of brine in the refrigerator, in containers where they get some air circulation.
Capers are salty, pea-sized and dark green in color. They are pickled buds from the shrub Capparis spinosa, picked long before the buds flower. Capers, is again, an acquired taste and one that I acquired very slowly. They are not new to the food world. In fact have been around as long as the olives, since ancient times.
So next time you need a garnish that is salty to kick your dish up a notch, think of capers. Read this article in the Spruce on how to use capers in recipes for more information.
Olive Tapenade is traditionally made with finely chopped/crushed olives and capers and flavored with garlic and herns. The Italian Olive Tapenade also has anchovies which are also salty and enhances the taste. It is a condiment, an accompaniment for an appetizer and is used in the preparation of fish dishes.
Spread this on my Challah Bread, for a quick satisfying snack.