Saturday, 18 October 2014

Anyone want to make tapenade?

Last-minute decision to join the Wolvercote big lunch, nothing prepared, but tapenade is crazy-quick (especially if you don't stop to take photographs at every stage) and all I was missing was lemons, and the corner shop could stump those up, at least.

You will need... I'm making double quantities as usual, which is masses. Normally you'd need 1 400g tin olives, 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of walnuts, 1 tablespoon of capers, 1 clove of garlic, about 125 ml olive oil but let's not get hung up on detail. Tapenade will take some hit-and-miss. Also, the actual featured olive oil is a lie. I buy it in bigger tins (bulk! bulk! everything in bulk!) and decant it into more user-friendly containers.

To chop the garlic easily, use the chef's trick.

Fiddly bit over. The rest is collating and blending. Chuck the garlic cloves in the trusty kilner jar. No need to chop. A measuring jar will do equally well.

Add the walnuts and capers.

Drain the olives. (Remember I'm making double quantities.)

Add HALF the olives to the jar (we'll be blending this lot to purée so we're keeping the rest aside to add texture.)

Then the olive oil - we need the liquid to help the blender. I'm measuring it here, but really, you can play this by ear...

It should sort of almost cover the olives, and if there's not enough, you can add more while you're blending.

I'm adding half the lemon juice now, for extra liquid. At the end I'll taste it and maybe add more.
I love my glass lemon squeezer! I think it's worthy of its cupboard space. However, Opinion Is Divided on this. Feel free to squeeze it by hand.

Blend it thoroughly, pushing the stick blender firmly all the way down and bouncing it up and down.

You want a proper purée, to chop up the garlic, nuts, and capers.

Add the other half of the olives and give it a few quick bursts with the blender - enough to roughly chop them but not pulverise them. We want some texture.

Now taste it. Do you want more lemon juice?

Put it in a bowl and grind black pepper over the top liberally.
Grab what oatcakes and crackers are about the house, a serving board, and hurtle down the road to the Big Lunch. Feed it to Morris Dancers.

And stay until the sun sets over the meadow and the bicycles.

Extra tapenade goes in the freezer. All those excess ramekins everyone has? They're for freezing handy little portions of tapenade and hummus. I got told off for being absurdly middle-class for this, but seriously, some people have ramekins bursting out their cupboards and I take the ramekins off their grateful hands and that's just the right amount to go in the freezer, and a lovely little container to serve it in, so c'mon. Another friend pointed out that it's perfect to defrost in the morning for a snack / one-person mini-lunch. On toast or to dip, whatever.

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