Time for Tapenades

April 24, 2013

California Wine Country Tapenade

The ripe olive is one of the most versatile foods in the pantry. While delicious on its own, olives also add flavor to a number of dishes from soups and salads to appetizers and entrees. One dish, that features olives predominantly and is as versatile as its main ingredient, is tapenade.
Tapenade originated in Provence, France, as a simple mixture of chopped olives, with various herbs and spices and is often used as a spread on crackers or a condiment. There are many different recipes for tapenade, and the first step is selecting the type of olive to use. Green and black California Ripe Olives are perfect because of their mild taste and ability to blend well with other flavors. To ensure you are purchasing California Ripe Olives, check the label to see if they’re a product of the U.S.
Tapenades are as varied as they are deli­cious, with con­sis­tencies that range from a spreadable paste to a chunky, salsa-like mixture. And their flavors can span the globe, from Greek and Mexican to Asian and French.
A simple ripe olive base is all you need to create a world of flavor. Here are three very different approaches to tapenade. The first is inspired from where the olives come from — California — and includes garlic, shallots and fresh basil.
The second has a Mexican flair with chipotle peppers and fresh cilantro. Finally, it’s East-meets-West with an Asian-inspired version that balances the mild olive flavors with spicy Sriracha and fresh ginger.
Although delicious with crackers and a traditional cheese plate, there are a number of creative ways to enjoy tape­nade, including:
* Mixing with sour cream for a zesty dip
* As a spread on sandwiches
* Spooned on tacos with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese
* Stuffed into chicken breasts for a flavor­ful kick
* Spread on pizza dough and topped with cheese and veggies
For more recipes featuring California Ripe Olives, visit www.CalOlive.org.

California Wine Country Tapenade
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Makes 8 to 10 servings
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped smoked sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 6-ounce can California Green Ripe Olives, well drained
1 6-ounce can California Black Ripe Olives, well drained
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Crackers or toasted baguette slices
Place shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a food processor and pulse on and off until finely chopped. Add olives, basil, salt and pepper and pulse again until chopped. Cover and chill for 1 hour. (May be prepared 1 day ahead.) Serve with crackers or toasted baguette slices.

Mexican Tapenade
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Makes 8 to 10 servings
2 6-ounce cans California Ripe Olives, well drained
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced
1 canned chipotle pepper plus
2 teaspoons adobo sauce from can
Good quality tortilla chips
Drain olives well and place in a food processor with all remaining ingredients except chips. Pulse on and off until finely chopped. Cover and chill for 1 hour. (May be prepared 1 day ahead.) Serve with tortilla chips or use as a sandwich spread or in quesadillas or tacos.

Spicy Asian Tapenade
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Tapenade:
2 6-ounce cans California Ripe Olives, well drained
1/2 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Crispy Won Ton Dippers:
24 square won ton wrappers, each cut into 2 triangles
Olive oil cooking spray
Sea salt to taste
Crispy Won Ton Cups:
24 square won ton wrappers
Olive oil cooking spray
Place all tapenade ingredients in a food processor and pulse on and off until finely chopped. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Meanwhile for dippers, preheat oven to 400°F and line 2 baking sheets with foil. Cut won ton wrappers in half and place on baking sheets; coat with olive oil spray and season lightly with salt. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
For cups, preheat oven to 350°F. Spray won ton wrappers on both sides with olive oil cooking spray. Press into 24 mini muffin cups, pressing all the way into the bottom. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown; let cool.
Serve with tapenade.

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