dairy free / Free from / Fruit & veg / gluten-free / vegan / vegetarian

Fig & olive tapenade

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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.

*At the renowned restaurant and riad La Maison Arabe where we dined one night. We actually stayed at the oasis of calm Riad Due which, in case you’re wondering, serves up sensational breakfasts! 

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Fig & olive tapenade

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

tapenade1v2

Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.

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