Olive tapenade for New Years

We had some small, tart olives that we had harvested and brined and needed a plan. Tapenade is always a good idea, especially for a New Year’s Party (if you can call champagne and appetizers at 5:30 on the 31st a New Year’s party). These morsels pack a big flavor punch, so champagne is a great accompaniment.

Ingredients:

2 cups seeded olives

2-3 anchovy fillets

2 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons capers

5-6 fresh basil leaves

1-2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)

2-3 tablespoons of good quality olive oil

salt and pepper

Basically, everything just gets minced, diced and mixed. If your olives have seeds, start by removing the seeds and dicing the olive meat.

The dicing serves two purposes — it gives the meat the right size and texture for the tapenade and it also identifies any stowaway seeds (very important if you want your guests to leave with all their teeth intact).

After this step, you have two options — you can put everything in a food processor and grind it to the desired texture, or you can do it by hand because you are somewhere without a food processor.

Finely dice the anchovy fillets, the garlic cloves, the capers and the basil leaves. Mix together with the diced olives and add the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Start by adding 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, then taste. Keep adding lemon juice until you like the flavor.

The tapenade can be kept in the fridge until you are ready to serve it. We put it on crackers toasted with some grated Romano cheese.

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