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Black olive & dried cherry tapenade

A truly good appetizer is one for which you're willing to forego the prospect of a main course in order to keep eating. There's a popular Italian restaurant in town that serves a mixed olive tapenade with focaccia as a standard table offering. The trouble is it's so good I over-amuse my bouche before I even order. If I planted myself at a cozy corner table and ordered a glass of water, I wonder how many times I could request a fresh dish of tapenade before they showed me the door. "Just waiting for someone," probably isn't going to cut it for more than twenty minutes.

I first made this black olive and dried cherry tapenade for some friends gathered in my back yard this summer. Since they really enjoyed it I offered to write up the recipe. My tart cherry contacts (I love that I can say that) generously sent me a few pounds of dried cherries for the development of this recipe. My lucky kids will be eating the remainder of that delivery for weeks.

Tapenade may be the easiest and quickest appetizer there is; just five ingredients pulsed for a few seconds in the mini-chopper or small food processor. On crisp crackers, spongy sour dough, or any way you want to bottom it, it's a lovely starter or party appetizer. Just don't blame me if you want to make a meal of it.

Here's how to make it:

1 398 ml/14 oz can of pitted black olives, drained
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup dried cherries, divided
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil

Add the olives, garlic, 1/4 cup of the cherries, basil and olive oil to a mini-chopper or small food processor. Pulse on the chop setting for a 5-10 seconds until the mixture is evenly chopped and crumbly (don't over process into a puree). Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of dried cherries. Serve with crackers or bread.

What appetizer could you turn into a meal?