I’ve spent a lot of time in France. Most of which was, in truth, spent eating, or talking about eating. And a question that has always perplexed me is why are the French so obsessed with tapenade? I mean, it’s basically an olive in spreadable form, the concept of which I like very much. And it’s good, but it’s not THAT good. Black olive tapenade in particular can be so potent that it leaves your tastebuds reeling – I find I need but the measliest of scrapings to sate my saline cravings.
One of life’s great mysteries perhaps.
Anyway, I had some tapenade in Marrakech* last August that blew my socks off. It was different. In fact, it had figs in it which made the olives a bit less shouty, creating a subtle and balanced sweet’n’salty party in your mouth. It will no doubt make any tapenade purist freak out – something which for some reason makes it taste, to me, even better.
Fig & olive tapenade
Makes about 2 cups
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 cup (soft) dried figs, any tough stems removed
- 1 cup black olives, pitted, drained and rinsed (tinned are absolutely fine)
- pinch dried thyme
- pinch salt, to taste
Blitz the oil and garlic together in a blender until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, seasoning with salt to taste (it will depend in part on how salty your olives are), and blend until a rough paste forms. Tip: If your figs are very dry (I used soft dried ones that are quite juicy), add a splash more oil. Your blender will thank you.
Tastes even better the next day so prepare ahead if you’re feeling organised. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a good week, if not longer.
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.