Sun-Dried Tomato Olive Tapenade

Where have all the sun-dried tomatoes gone? 

Back in the 80's it was all the rage. It seemed like everything was topped with sun-dries tomatoes. Overdone possibly back then especially when some people were using them in summer season when fresh off-the-vine were readily available. But, food trends happen because something good gets so much attention, even if sometimes overdone. 

Tips: Like now, when the temperature dips south of 30 degrees it's always great idea to keep some on hand. And, since we are in prime holiday season make this recipe as a great pre-dinner hors d'œuvre.

Sun-died tomatoes are more intense in flavor, therefore use less than fresh. Soak dried tomatoes in a small amount of warm water prior to adding to a recipe. Any extra soaked tomatoes may be kept in a small amount of olive oil in the refridgerator for a couple weeks. 

Tapenade comes from the word tapeno which means capers in Provence. The addition of sun-dried tomatoes adds a little sweetness to a traditional tapenade.

Sun-Dried Tomato Olive Tapenade

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes 1 cup

2/3 cup black oil cured olives (Kalamata or Nicoise), pitted and finely chopped 
2 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped 
4 cloves caramelized garlic 
2 Tablespoons capers, drained, rinsed under cold tap water and finely chopped 
2 small sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped 
4 Tablespoons virgin olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
3 basil leaves, chopped

In a bowl, mix together the olives, anchovies, garlic, capers, sun dried tomatoes, oil, pepper, and water. Spread Tapenade on toasted French baguette bread, top with fresh basil, or serve with your favorite sandwich. 

Optional: Place small pieces of cooked chicken, shrimp, or savory Brie on tapenade to make variations.