Tapenade with Herbs
Makes about 1½ cups
Use tasty imported olives such as Kalamata or well-cured California olives. Green olives can also be used; the meatier the better. Serve this tapenade with toast, bread, or crackers, or with grilled or raw vegetables as a dip. I especially like it with tomatoes, raw fennel, or roasted bell pepper strips, and on sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs.
- 2 cloves garlic
- Large pinch coarse salt
- A few red pepper flakes (if desired)
- 1 cup pitted black or green olives
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 handful Italian parsley leaves, torn roughly
- 2 teaspoons fresh marjoram or summer savory leaves, or 1½ teaspoons winter savory
- About ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Peel the garlic cloves and place them in a large mortar with the salt. Add the red pepper flakes, if desired. Crush the garlic with the pestle and add about one-third of the olives. Pound the olives to crush them. Continue adding the olives a third at a time and pound with the pestle. Add the capers and crush them. The tapenade should still be slightly chunky at this point.
- Add the herbs and black pepper and continue the pounding motion until the herb leaves are fairly broken down. Drizzle in the olive oil, about 1 tablespoon at a time, running the pestle around the mortar in a circular motion.
- Serve the tapenade at room temperature; it can be served immediately but tastes better if allowed to stand for a half hour. Covered tightly, it will keep in the refrigerator for a week to ten days. (You may need to stir in a little more olive oil once it comes to room temperature.)