I will not be “cutting a caper” in this post. In fact, I’m going to cut out the capers. I used to have a jar of them in the fridge but I got so much grief from my family that I decided to toss them.
“What is a caper anyway?” I was asked over and over again. “They look gross!”
Okay. A caper is a plant from the Mediterranean region. In Provençal the caper plant was known as tapeneï and its little edible bud was the tapeno.
Tapeno buds have been eaten since as early as 1200 B.C. They were preserved in olive oil in pottery jars, and apparently got mashed into a kind of paste.
And that has eventually became what we know today as tapenade.
So the name comes from the main ingredient I’m leaving out of my recipe today. If you decide to add them – which I have done, but they don’t really make that much difference – you can add 2 tablespoons.
(Some recipes call for anchovies also, but I have never put them in. I’d be the only person in my family who would eat it.)
So…sans the namesake tapano, here is my delicious recipe for olive tapenade. I guarantee it will be one of the favourite hors d’oeuvre you serve this holiday season!
3 cans black olives
2 cups kalamata olives
1 cup green olives with pimentos
1 bell pepper
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
Drain olives well and pack in cup when measuring
Run olives and pepper through a food grinder (do not puree)
Stir in olive oil and lime juice
Mix well and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving
Serve with crackers or bruschetta.