A trio of tempt­ing tape­nades

Spreads made from olives serve as dips, top­pings

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - ERIC AKIS

Look­ing at some pho­tos re­cently of a mem­o­rable fam­ily trip to the south of France, I noted many were of mar­ket scenes — not an un­usual in­ter­est for a food writer.

One pic­ture showed a woman sell­ing tape­nade, a flavour­ful mix­ture whose key in­gre­di­ent is olives.

Tape­nade comes from the word tapeno, which means “ca­pers” in Provence, a south­west­ern re­gion of France from where tape­nade orig­i­nates, ac­cord­ing to the book Jac­ques Pepin’s Ta­ble.

If you are won­der­ing why it’s named af­ter ca­pers and not olives — the key in­gre­di­ent — award­win­ning au­thor and Mediter­ranean food ex­pert Clif­ford A. Wright writes on his web­site Clif­for­dawright.com that ca­pers were brought to Provence from Crete by the Pho­caeans, Greeks from Asia Mi­nor who set­tled near Mar­seilles in the sixth cen­tury B.C.

Wrights says the flower buds, the part of the ca­per used for culi­nary pur­poses, were pre­served with olive oil in ves­sels called am­phoras. He notes the ca­pers be­came mushed to­gether in those am­phoras and formed a kind of paste of crushed tapeno (ca­pers). Wright calls this the an­ces­tor of the mod­ern tape­nade.

These days, although ca­pers and olive oil are still used, olives are by vol­ume the main in­gre­di­ent in tape­nade.

It’s also of­ten flavoured with an­chovies.

Other blends of tape­nade in­clude those ac­cented with such things as truf­fles, herbs, dried fruit and sun-dried toma­toes.

Below you’ll find three recipes that show­case some of the dif­fer­ent ways it can be flavoured.

Ni­coise olive tape­nade

Prep time: 5 min­utes Cook time: None Makes: About 1 cup (250 mL) 1 cup (250 mL) pit­ted Ni­coise olives (or pit­ted kala­mata olives)

4 an­chovy fil­lets 1/4 cup (60 mL) ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

Place all in­gre­di­ents in a food pro­ces­sor and pulse un­til well­com­bined but still slightly coarse in tex­ture. Do not turn into a very smooth paste.

Trans­fer the tape­nade to a tight seal­ing con­tainer and re­frig­er­ate un­til needed. It will keep for two weeks. Warm the tape­nade to room tem­per­a­ture be­fore serv­ing.

Olive, almond and apri­cot tape­nade

Prep time: 10 min­utes Cook­ing time: None Makes: 2 cups (500 mL) 1 cup (250 mL) dried apri­cots (about 26 to 28) 1 cup (250 mL) pit­ted Kala­mata olives 1/4 cup (60 mL) ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil 2 tbsp (30 mL) bal­samic vine­gar 2 medium cloves gar­lic, thinly sliced 1/4 cup (60 mL) sliv­ered al­monds 1/4 cup (60 mL) coarsely chopped basil Freshly ground black pep­per to taste

Place the apri­cots in a pot, cover with cold wa­ter and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, and then re­move from the heat and let the apri­cots plump up in the wa­ter for 15 min­utes.

Dar­ren Stone/Postmedia News

2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh basil or oregano 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) finely grated lemon zest 1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice Freshly ground black pep­per to taste Tape­nade orig­i­nates from the word tapeno, which trans­lates to “ca­pers” in the French re­gion of...

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