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Easy Olive Tapenade with Capers

Olive tapenade is salty, briny, spicy, full of lively charm, and my new go-to appetizer.
Olive Tapenade | Letty's Kitchen

Let me confess. I’ve been known to cook a lovely simple company dinner, maybe a casserole and tossed salad, and even dessert, and then at the last minute remember that I don’t have anything to go with cocktails. Whoops.

I mean, people are coming in 20 minutes and I’d like a quick shower first. We can’t keep chips around here, ‘cuz we’ll eat them all at once, so that’s out. I could always do crackers and cheese—we usually have those. Or toasted almonds. Boring. Nah, I want something more interesting, more flavorful, more exciting, but it has to be fast.

CLICK HERE to Pin Easy Olive Tapenade with Capers.

Olive tapenade to the rescue. From now on there’ll be a tub of pitted olives–the ones from the olive bar at the grocery store—in the fridge. Yep, I’ll have it together–appetizer emergencies are over.

olives, capers and garlic for Olive Tapenade

This recipe calls for capers. No worries, a jar of those briny little buds lives in our fridge forever. Your fridge too? You get to use a tablespoon of them in this recipe!

Fresh garlic, always in the house. Extra virgin olive oil and red pepper flakes—standard pantry items. Lemon zest for floral notes. Dang no lemons. You know what, never mind the zest—it won’t be missed. Olive tapenade without lemon zest is still an awesome easy appetizer dip. Just add crackers.

Six ingredients and five minutes. A quick pulse, pulse, pulse in the food processor and I get my shower. Bring on the drinks!

Olive Tapenade in bowl with crackers

Olive Tapenade recipe notes:

  • Piquant and pungent, rich, loud, and unpretentious, olive tapenade is more than a delightful meal starter. It’s a sandwich spread, it’s a pasta sauce, it’s a dip– it’s a superwoman condiment!
  • Make a batch of olive tapenade and keep in your fridge for everyday meal enhancement. Try it stirred into your favorite pasta, or paired with garlicky sautéed greens.
  • Featuring ingredients from the region, olive tapenade is a specialty of Provence in France. Some recipes include anchovies and/or fresh parsley. I like mine simple, made with ingredients I keep on hand.
  • Capers are pickled immature flower buds from a native Mediterranean plant. Choose the petite nonpareil variety.
  • I feel like I’d be keeping a secret if I didn’t tell you that they sell it readymade in jars. But homemade is always better, and olive tapenade is so damn easy to make–faster than the checkout line at Trader Joe’s.
  • This combo makes another quick and easy appetizer. Plan ahead, though, because Manchego cheese and quince paste aren’t everyday staples.

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