Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Hour Small Plates- Peppadew Tapenade

Small plates are hot right now. Lots of trendy nightspots are featuring these tidbits that are perfect for sharing with friends and gives you a chance to taste several different things rather than one big entree. They are also perfect for entertaining, especially this easy-to-fix tapenade, that includes one of my favorite things to make for entertaining- Peppadews!

This is super easy to throw together and keep in the fridge for at least a couple weeks, and the food processor makes quick work of it. So, to make my Pepper Olive Tapenade you will need-

  • 1/2 cup Peppadews, packed
  • 1 cup black olives- I like to use a mix of common black olives and Kalamatas, use whatever you like
  • 1 cup green olives- any kind you like, again I use a mix of different green olives
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tb capers
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • small palmfull fresh parsley (leaves only)
  • 1 lemon- juiced and zested
  • 3-4 tb olive oil

Combine Peppadews, olives, garlic, herbs, capers and lemon zest in food processor. MAKE SURE that the olives are PITTED. Pulse/process until you have a finely chopped mixture. 

If you have one of these choppers they are perfect for a chunkier
tapenade and you won't accidentally over-process into puree
Scoop into bowl and toss with lemon juice (use an amount based on your taste- sprinkle in a teaspoon and taste it- add more if you like) and olive oil. 

This is the consistency I am looking for, finely minced
Chill well and serve with toasted slices of baguette or crackers, toss with pasta or with pita chips.

All the colors of the peppers, olives, herbs and pop of fresh lemon
A few things here- first of all, if you're not familiar with Peppadews, you need to meet these guys. They are a South African sweet/hot pepper that is bright red and so delicious. If you are lucky enough to have a supermarket with an olive bar, they likely will have Peppadews as well. 

If not, you can find them in the pickle aisle in jars. If you absolutely cannot find them you could use pimiento or roasted red pepper as a substitute but it won't have the same sweet/hot kick. When I shopped to make this recipe, incredibly, the store had NONE- not a single Peppadew. I had to go with sweet pickled cherry peppers but the flavor and texture were very similar. I just removed the stem and seeds and they pretty much were the same with very little difference in flavor. The cherry peppers are a little meatier and I think less "crispy" but they certainly were very similar in the sweet with a hint of heat character.

Olive bars- the bane of my existence! Gateway Market in Des Moines has the best gourmet olive bar anywhere, and I am officially grounded from going there- I can spend my entire grocery budget on those darn things. We have a chain of grocery stores in Iowa called HyVee and they also have nice olive bars and most have Peppadews on the bar. If you can, seek out an olive bar- you can mix and match the olives you want and not have to open a bunch of jars and cans to get 1 cup of olives. They are sold by weight so go crazy and mix it up! 

I chose a varied mix from the bar- Kalamata, big pitted and briney green olives, smaller black olives, and oil-cured red olives. I made sure to get all pitted olives so I wouldn't have to mess with pitting them. I also was careful not to choose any stuffed olives- while they are all delicious, they really wouldn't work with this dish.

Some of the olives I chose were marinated and the mix included chunks of Provolone. Of course I scooped a few of those in the tub- that's for snacking while I'm prepping the rest of the dish!

Soooo delicious. Fresh, herby, lemony and briney. Yum.
So what exactly is tapenade anyway? Well, simply put, it's a relish. It's an ancient French food typically made from olives, capers and olive oil, often flavored with fresh herbs, anchovies or lemon. There are about as many versions of tapenade as there are chefs, ranging from a pate-like spread to a chunkier relish style condiment. I'm looking for somewhere in between- I want to still see bits of the components and be able to pick out the flavors while still enjoying the tapenade as a whole. I also plan on serving it on toasted slices of baguette, similar to bruschetta. Once you've made it I'm sure your imagination will take you in different directions. Stop back and tell us what you're cooking with tapenade!

1 comment:

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