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Tapenade: Olive spread with capers and anchovies

Enjoy as a spread or as topping for many dishes
Enjoy as a spread or as topping for many dishes

Contrary to what some people believe, French food is often easy to make.  Fresh local ingredients are key to prepare any dish.  The South of France, especially the region of Provence,  is rich with Mediterranean flavors:  The first thing that comes to mind are probably olives, olive oil, and an array of fragrant herbs, like marjoram, thyme, rosemary, basil, lavender of course... 

Home made Tapenade,  a tasty snack. Spread sparingly  over a cracker and top with  fresh basil ...
Photo by Patricia Daumas

So when you need a last minute something to bring to the table or at the party, think French. You'll be surprised how easy it is to get great results. 

Try this delicious dish from Provence. Its name comes from the old Provencal word for capers: tapéno. It is easy to make and you will surely make an impression.

You only need a handful of versatile and tasty ingredients that by the way should always be in your kitchen.


1 cup pitted black olives (preferably Niçoise)

2 anchovy fillets, rinsed

1 small crushed clove garlic,

2 tablespoons capers

2 to 3 fresh basil leaves or some thyme or oregano

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, cold pressed


Mix and cut into pieces the olives, anchovies and capers until they are very finely chopped. Add olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste. Flavor with the garlic, and the Provencal herbs. And “voila!”

Tapenade can be refrigerated for at least a couple of days. You can serve it as an hors d’œuvre, spread on bread. But it has many other uses, it can be used for stuffing meat, topping baked potatoes, boiled or scrambled eggs,  and anyway your imagination suggests. 


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