Authentic olive tapenade recipe from the South of France
Olive tapenade is one of the specialities of the region in the Languedoc, coming originally from Provence, but also an equally well know specialities of the Languedoc, as well. Made from an olive paste, mixed with garlic and anchovies, it is delicious on bread as part of a starter, or as an aperitif to go with Kir, Pastis, or a lightly chilled Rosé from the region or a beautiful glass of smooth and earthy Languedoc red.
This olive tapenade recipe is a local tapenade recipe from the Gard, hence it is authentic and exactly how one makes the real thing. You don’t need to go to an American website to see the imitations, you can get the real thing here from the south of France itself!
On sale at the market on a Saturday here, olive tapenade is sold in large bowls. One can buy green olive tapenade, black olive tapenade and red tapenade which is made with olives and sun dried tomatoes. All three are delicious, although usually the black variety is the saltier. Once made, your olive tapenade should last at least a month in the fridge. Every time you want to serve it, you mix a little olive oil – preferably virgin olive oil from Nîmes – (the appellation controlée variety, not the cheap Spanish imitation), and serve in a small bowl with some lightly cut fresh French bread.
This recipe is taken from a dear friend, a local of the region who had to be talked into writing it down. She tells us that most of the traditional recipes here were learnt by watching their mothers cook, and not from a cookbook. So she tends to mix the ingredients as they work best from experience, rather than by fine measurement. It is more of an art handed down than a scientific process. However, after some gentle persuasion she agreed to put this simple recipe down to paper for us. Of course the taste is in the quality of the ingredients.
2 cloves of garlic
20 olives (either green or black)
3 filets of anchovies in olive oil.
Mix or crush the garlic with the anchovies in a mortar with their oil, and then add the olives without the stones and crush to a fine pulp.
Et voila – bon appetit!