Superfood Tapenade Recipe
A superfood tapenade of sorts - green olives, walnuts, and good olive oil boosted with anise, and a bit of the wheatgrass powder I sometimes add to drinks or dressings - crumbled nori would be a great substitute.
I cook a lot of simple meals. The type of meals California cooks occasionally get mocked for. You know the equation - a great ingredient sautéed with local olive oil and seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Repeat. For example, this time of year, (as we've discussed) I cook artichokes once or twice a week, and I put all my focus and attention into picking out the best artichokes and then preparing them beautifully. I rarely use more than a bit of oil in the pan (after blanching), salt and pepper, and a bit of lemon zest to finish. I like the artichoke flavor direct and unobstructed, their outside leaves crisped brown in the pan. I leave it at that, without other flavors getting in the way. Increasingly, I find myself thinking this is a missed opportunity. Flavor aside, I should make an effort to boost each preparation with a favorite blend of spices or seasonings for their powerful, and unique nutrients. Many of the phytonutrients in spices aren't present in other foods, and people who live in cultures with a spice-rich cuisine have, in some cases (dramatically) lower rates of certain diseases. That's a long way of saying, they're powerful. Not only on the flavor front, but in promoting health and wellness in general. It's easy to boost your food in this way, and I could be better about incorporating these accents into each meal - an oregano drizzle, a turmeric braise, the dry spices from this tea as a base for miso soup, etc. So, more than anything, this is a note to self - individual spices, spice blends, and pastes are important. Use them generously, and often. Exhibit one - this green olive paste. It's a superfood tapenade of sorts - green olives, walnuts, and good olive oil boosted with anise, and a bit of the wheatgrass powder I sometimes add to drinks or dressings - crumbled nori would be a great substitute.
I imagine a dollop of harissa paste in a black olive version of this would be welcome. Or this green version with a bit of green curry paste (minus the anise). I made this over the weekend, and have enjoyed it in an omelette, as the punctuation on avocado toast, spooned over farro risotto, and on these little soccas!
This is a loose tapenade. If you prefer a more paste-like consistency, chop more, or use a food processor to blend more thoroughly.
8 oz green olives (30 olives), rinsed and pitted
1 green onion, slivered
2/3 cup / 2 oz toasted walnuts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon wheatgrass powder, spirulina, or crushed (toasted) nori
generous pinch of ground anise or fennel
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
sea salt to taste, if needed
Combine the olives, green onions, walnuts, chile flakes, and wheatgrass powder on a cutting board. Chop together to desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the anise and olive oil. Taste and season with lemon juice and salt.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Prep time: 7 minutes
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I love your tapenade recipe. It's healthy and wholesome. Perfect for breads or crackers.
Love "eating with my eyes", Heidi! The colors and textures remind me of a pesto...can't wait to try!
I also have to remark on your avocado slicing skills; I have some serious envy. Secondly, love the concept of boosted, simple recipes. Exotic superfoods recall smoothies for me. Now I'm so inspired to add bits here and there to some of my go-tos. The wheatgrass is a lovely addition.
do you have a good resource for learning about the health benefits of spices? Turmeric has been getting lots of attention lately, but oregano has healthful properties too? I think of it as so ordinary (sorry oregano!). It makes me wonder what other 'ordinary' spices I should make more use of in the kitchen.
I don't think you necessarily have it all wrong with your simple lemon and evoo preparation. Having the discipline to focus on just one ingredient and doing it really well is an elegant skill to have. That said, I will certainly take this superfood tapenade any day and I also agree with you on the use of spices.
Heidi, the avo toast looks spectacular. here in NZ avo sandwiches, toast and salads are a daily part of holiday lunches in the summer. This looks like a welcome addition to the ubiquitous avo sandwich, I shall put it away to look forward to making next summer when the avos are at their best. Thank you
Goodness, this looks delicious. I cannot wait to try it.
This looks so clean and flavoursome, I love it! Spring on a plate, the only way you know :) x
I saw those slivered slices of avocado with the chunky bits of olive on top and thought, wow, how lush! Another great dish that urges me to make it right now, and then sit down and take the time to savor every bite. Usually I see a great recipe and want to devour in an instant but your collection inspires me to slow down and appreciate the moment. Brava!
I love the way you cook, I learn so much from you!
Definitely those slices of avocado were the first thing I noticed!! Impressive. The tapenade looks amazing. I'd probably skip the walnuts but the rest looks divine.
I always admire the delicious simplicity of your food pairings and look forward to every post! Love the combination of anise with green olives. Bought some wonderful green olives at the weekly market in Zürich today..you would love the endless variety of cheese there Heidi...it is heavenly! Come to Switzerland one day soon!
This sounds delicious - the anise sounds like a really interesting addition. Definitely need to give this a try!
As usual Heidi. You did it again. It looks so good I can taste it!
What is the source of the green olives? I'm assuming not from a can, but jar, bulk, etc?
HS: Hi Claudia - I used Castelvetrano olives from bulk here.
Well, simplicity IS healing. :)
Heidi, so glad for this world's endless creativities--I would have never thought of this one. And as I have been thinking of socca nonestop for three weeks, it is exactly what I would love to put on it. Exactly.
Well, I have never even heard of a tapenade before and yet I find it fascinating! A lover of walnuts (and anise/fennel) is just my favorite seasoning other than rosemary. I love the idea of a recipe that incorporates it!! And a super food as well ~ how wonderful. I've also noted that the recipes I see posted from California West coast are so different than what I see posted from the Midwest or East coast where I live. So intriguing!!
Hey love, I really, really prefer those simple meals with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some s&p. But I also could do with your tapenade on avocado toast right now. I've barleygrass powder laying around - I think I'll give it a try and substitute wheatgrass with this pantry find. xx Lisa
I'm just going to talk about your avocado slicing for a moment. I love it and always admire it. Do you cut it into quarters lengthwise and then thin slice each section on a diagonal? Chopping is so influential!
HS: Thanks Lydia! I think you've got it exactly right - Once you have the avocado cut in half, pit it, then quarter. I cup each quarter in my palm and do tiny slices on the diagonal, and then run the paring knife along the inside of the skin to release - I try to get as close to the skin as possible because a lot of the good stuff is there - lots of color, nutrients, best texture, etc.
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