Monday, April 4, 2011

Fig and Black Olive Tapenade

1 cup stemmed and quartered (about 6 ounces) dried Black Mission figs
1½ cups water
2 cups (1/2 pound) pitted Kalamata or Nicoise olives
Juice of 1 lemon
1½ tablespoons whole grain or smooth Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon drained capers
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil or more if necessary
Salt and pepper

1. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the figs and water. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the figs are very tender, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly, drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the fig cooking liquid.
2. Look the olives over to see if any still has its pit. Remove and proceed. In a food processor, combine the figs, olives, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, capers, rosemary, and reserved 2 tablespoons of fig-cooking liquid. Pulse to create a thick paste. With the motor running, gradually add the oil. Season generously with pepper and add salt to taste, remembering the various salty ingredients.
Note: There is occasionally a pit in the pitted olives. Without having to check each olive before chucking it into the processor, pulse a couple of times at the beginning. You will hear the rattle of the pit. Stop immediately and retrieve it. Pulse another couple of times to make certain you have them all. Then full speed ahead.
3. Transfer to a storage container, cover, and refrigerate at least 24 hours to develop the flavors. But less time in the fridge is OK too.
4. Bring the tapenade to room temperature before serving. Serve with French bread, crackers, or pita chips or, for the gluten-free, rice or lentil crackers or vegetables.

Makes about 2½-3 cups; serves 8-10 as a dip before dinner
Adapted from Carrie Brown’s The Jimtown Store Cookbook

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