TAPENADE (Provencal black olive paste, about ½ cup)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Appetizers, dips and spreads, tapenade 2

Use mild-flavored olives to make this briny, rough-textured anchovy, caper and olive paste from Provence. The name, tapenade, comes from the Provencal word for capers, tapeno.  Smear it on roasted potatoes, use it as a dip for vegetables or a spread for crostini, or stir in more oil to make a thinner sauce for drizzling over fish or pasta.

¼ pound (2/3 cup) Nicoise or Kalamata olives

3 flat anchovy fillets plus 1 teaspoon of their oil

1 tablespoon drained capers

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh orange or lemon juice

twenty-four ¼ inch thick diagonal slices cut from a long, thin loaf of French bread, arranged in one layer on a baking sheet and toasted in the middle of a preheated 350* oven until golden and crisp, about 10 minutes

2 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise

diced red bell pepper and minced parsley for garnish

1. With the flat side of a heavy knife, crush the olives lightly and discard the pits.

2. In a food processor, puree the olives with the anchovies, anchovy oil, capers and olive oil, and juice, scraping down the sides often. (The tapenade can be made 5 days ahead and kept covered and chilled.)

NOTE: See red bell pepper and sun-dried tomato toasts for use in a recipe

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