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Five minutes to a delicious tapenade!

Looking for a quick, easy appetizer? Or perhaps a flavorful spread for a sandwich? Today’s post is a possibility, as we’re scratchin’ up a batch of tapenade. With some of this spread on small toasts, you’ll have an instant bruschetta and it’ll seem as though you’re living the life of Riley.

And, just so you know, and so we can give credit where it’s due, this recipe comes from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home, which is just packed with great recipes and very detailed instructions. We’ve not found a bad one in the bunch. Nor have we run across instructions that were unclear. Not to worry today, because tapenade is about the easiest thing you can make.

Makes about 1 cup.




  • 3/4 cup pitted olives, traditionally Niçoise
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp capers
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Abbreviated Instructions

Rinse and drain olives and capers.

Combine everything in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 5 times until the olives are chopped.

Transfer to a covered dish and refrigerate until needed.


Ingredient discussion:

Yes, Niçoise olives are traditional, but we substituted Kalamata olives, instead, and survived. In fact, we think you could use pretty much any olive, even green olives, provided they were a high quality olive. For the olive oil, yes, you do want extra-virgin olive oil, as that’s important for flavor. If you taste your olive oil — yes, straight, as in a small glass — if it’s extra-virgin it should have a strong grassy or peppery flavor. Often it’ll make you cough. If it’s mild flavored, or flavorless, it’s not extra-virgin. Finally, mustard, we didn’t have Dijon because we make our own, so we used some Guinness and Caraway Mustard, instead. Whatever you do, don’t use that fluorescent yellow stuff in a squeeze bottle. Ugh.

Procedure in detail:

tapenade ingredients
Sometimes simple is best. Just olives, capers, garlic, oil, and mustard.

Prep. We chopped our garlic right into the food processor, then added mustard and olive oil. Then we measured out the olives and added the capers on top.

rinsing olives and capers
Rinsing the olives and capers removes some of the salt, letting the olive taste shine through.

Rinse. Rinsing the olives and capers is to get rid of some of the salt. You don’t want to taste just salt, right? Of course not, so put the olives and capers in a colander and give then a good rinsing. Shake them around and let them drain a minute.

A few quick pulses should be plenty to chop the olives. Too many and you’ll have olive mush.

Process. Put the olives and capers in the food processor bowl, attach it to the processor, and give it a couple of pulses, until the olives are chopped. Not puréed, just chopped.

This is so easy and so good, it’s bound to become a regular spread in our fridge.

Pack. Scrape the tapenade into a small container and refrigerate until needed.

For some reason, when you get tapenade at restaurants, it seems as though it must be more trouble than this. That somehow this simple version is lacking. Fortunately, no, this version is not lacking. In fact, it tastes much better than most tapenades that we’ve had at restaurants (some of those tasted like canned black olives, urg). Why? Simple, when you make something at home, you can choose the best ingredients, which results in the best dishes. And that’s what scratchin’ is all about. Five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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