Serves 6 (makes about 1½ cups) | Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
2 cups pitted Castelvetrano olives, divided
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
3 anchovy fillets
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Head Start
Refrigerate tapenade, with plastic wrap pressed against surface, for up to 3 days.
Finish Line
Sprinkle tapenade with pine nuts and/or fresh thyme before serving.
Perfect Pair
Serve with Baked Brie with Honeyed Apricots, Fingerling Potato Salad, or Gambas al Ajillo .
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS This Mediterranean spread is piquant, rich, savory, and spreadable, a popular choice for scooping up with crackers and also as an accompaniment to meat, fish, and vegetables. For an eye-catching green version, we use buttery Castelvetrano olives. For ease, we process the olives and other ingredients in a food processor rather than a traditional mortar and pestle, adding the olives in two stages to achieve an appealingly varied texture. The resulting mix is pungent, zesty, and slightly briny, with clear olive notes and discernible olive pieces. Swapping Kalamata and salt-cured black olives for the Castelvetrano olives results in an earthy, balanced black olive tapenade. If you cannot find Castelvetrano olives, you can substitute rinsed, unstuffed Manzanilla olives and omit the lemon juice.
Pulse 1¾ cups olives, oil, capers, parsley, anchovies, garlic, lemon zest and juice, thyme, and pepper flakes in food processor until olives are finely minced and mixture begins to look like chunky paste, 10 to 12 pulses, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add remaining ¼ cup olives and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 6 pulses. Transfer to serving bowl. Serve, drizzled with extra olive oil.
Black Olive Tapenade
Substitute 1½ cups pitted Kalamata olives and ½ cup pitted salt-cured black olives for Castelvetrano olives, reduce oil to ¼ cup, increase capers to 3 tablespoons, reduce anchovies to 2, and reduce garlic to ½ clove. Process ⅓ cup pine nuts in food processor to mostly smooth paste, scraping bowl as needed. Add olives, oil, capers, anchovies, garlic, and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard to processor with pine nut paste and pulse until finely chopped, about 15 pulses. Serve.