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Tapenade: discover a simple, traditional Provençal recipe

Tapenade is an emblem of Provençal cuisine, a traditional recipe made from green or black olives. This easy-to-make preparation is often enhanced with anchovies and capers for extra flavour. Whether you opt for a homemade tapenade or a variation with aubergine or tomato, this Mediterranean delicacy is sure to delight your taste buds. Discover our recipe and let yourself be seduced by its unique taste.

The origins of tapenade and its tradition

Tapenade originated in the port city of Marseille in 1880. Its inventor, chef M. Meynier of the Provençal restaurant La Maison Dorée, combined the flavours of the region into an emblematic recipe. The name 'tapenade' comes from the Provençal word 'tapena', meaning capers, an essential ingredient in the recipe. Although this preparation is relatively recent, it is inspired by much older culinary traditions: as far back as Antiquity, in the Mediterranean basin, olives were mashed with capers and anchovies to prepare a condiment called garum.

Recette de la tapenade.

The basic ingredients for a successful traditional tapenade

The success of a good tapenade depends on the quality and quantity of the ingredients chosen. Here are the essential ingredients for making an authentic tapenade:

  • Olives: The choice of olives is essential. They are generally pitted black or green olives. The quantity varies between 150g and 300g depending on the recipe.

  • Anchovies: Anchovy fillets add a touch of marine flavour. The quantity used generally varies between 2 and 5 fillets.

  • Capers: These small condiments add a touch of acidity. One or two teaspoons are usually enough.

  • Garlic: A clove of garlic is often used to spice up the recipe.

  • Olive oil: Olive oil, a central ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, is used to bind tapenade. Choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Some people add lemon juice or herbes de Provence for extra flavour, but it's not compulsory.

How do you make homemade black olive tapenade?

To make homemade black olive tapenade, start by gathering your ingredients. For a typical recipe, you'll need :

  • 200-300 g pitted black olives

  • 2 to 8 anchovy fillets in oil

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons capers

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano (optional)

  • 1 pinch pepper

Once you have assembled your ingredients, follow these steps:

  1. Cut your olives, capers and anchovy fillets into pieces.

  2. Peel the garlic and remember to remove the germ, the indigestible part of the garlic.

  3. Place the garlic, capers, anchovies and olives in a blender.

  4. Blend to a smooth paste. If you prefer a more rustic tapenade, don't hesitate to blend for less time.

The easy recipe for Provençal green olive tapenade

To prepare an authentic Provençal green tapenade, here are the ingredients for 6 people:

  • 200g pitted green olives

  • 70g anchovies

  • 70g capers

  • 1 lemon

  • 6cl olive oil

  • 1 clove of garlic

  • Pepper

Start by draining the anchovy fillets. Squeeze the lemon. Then finely chop the garlic and place in a blender. Add the olives, a generous teaspoon of capers and the anchovy fillets. Pour 3 heaped tablespoons of olive oil into the blender bowl.

Tip: For a smoother, finer texture, add the olive oil a little at a time, while blending. The mixture should be very smooth. Once ready, keep the tapenade in the fridge until ready to use.

Tapenade verte facile.

Why use anchovies in tapenade?

In our opinion, anchovies are essential in tapenade. Anchovies add strength and character to your recipe. Without anchovies, the tapenade will often be bland and much less tasty.

Green tapenade without anchovies

For those who don't like the taste of anchovies, you can replace them with sardines. For those who want a vegan tapenade recipe, you can remove the anchovy and add more spices to 'spice up' the taste of the tapenade.

Recipe variations: aubergine and tomato tapenade

Tapenade can also be made with aubergine or tomato for those looking for a sweeter, fruitier variation.

Aubergine tapenade: The recipe begins by cooking the halved aubergine in the oven for 30 minutes. The aubergine pulp is then mixed with pitted olives, capers and anchovy fillets.

Tomato tapenade: This variant requires the olives to be well drained before being blended with garlic and basil. Olive oil is added gradually during the blending process and tomato paste is added until a red colour is obtained.

These two variants offer a new dimension to the traditional tapenade, adding the sweetness of aubergine and the fruity character of tomato.

Preserving tapenade: tips and advice

There are a number of ways to store your tapenade properly. Firstly, use an airtight jar to avoid any contact with the air. After pouring your tapenade into the jar, make sure you seal it well. Then, for optimum preservation, we recommend covering the tapenade with a layer of olive oil before closing the jar. This technique, known as "coating", prevents the tapenade from oxidising and micro-organisms from developing.

Can I keep tapenade in the fridge?

Yes, refrigeration is recommended to preserve the freshness of the tapenade. You can also opt to store it in a cool, dry place away from light. If you want to keep your tapenade for longer, don't hesitate to put it in the freezer.

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