Spicy Olive Tapenade

I realized yesterday that Labor Day is next Monday. Labor Day, as in summer’s bookend. Labor Day, as in the end of lazy days in the sun and the beginning of  crisp air and fresh starts. New directions, refocusing. Summer was lovely and I’m sad to see it go, but I am ready for a new beginning. Out with the old and in with the new. I have so many things I don’t want to drag into the new season.

It’s been too hot in my kitchen to really cook. Luckily, this recipe requires no cooking. Nada. I’ve been in the mood to simplify things, and this tapenade is as simple as you can get. Mix it together and dip your bread into it. I served it to Josh and Rachel last week while their baby Nora was sleeping in the other room. It’s from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which has yet to disappoint. The sound of the electric fan lulling the baby to sleep, the meager, aging air conditioner turned on to its full blast, a lemony mediterranean dip, and some nice friends swapping stories around the couch. We followed up dinner (lentil salad and rice) with watermelon. What could be more summery than this scenario?

I’m not quite ready to let summer go yet, but I know that fall will usher in its own pleasures, and that feels hopeful enough for now.

Spicy Olive Tapenade
1/2 pound olives, pitted. I used Kalamata
1/4 c. capers, rinsed
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves to taste, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. chopped green peppercorns, drained (I used dried black)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Mix it all up in a food processor (or a mortar and pestle if you don’t have one). Adjust oil as needed for desired consistency. Serve with pita points or a crusty baguette. Would be great on sandwiches, too.


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About Kate Soto


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