Figs and Olives: A Delightful Surprise
A few weeks ago, I went to an after-work picnicky thing to meet some of Mister MA’s new colleagues, and unlike most office-sponsored gatherings, the food was memorable – in a good way.
While Mister MA fetched the drinks, I perused the colorful array of mostly meatless dips and spreads, but the thing that caught my eye was the fig tapenade. A first for me, I was intrigued, imagining how figs and olives would taste and feel in one unified bite. It would take just one little spoonful to hook me, well, forever. Where have you been all my life, olives and figs, baby? What a groovy combination, a yin-yang of sweet and savory, smooth and chunky, mellow and pungent. While licking my fingers, I decided that I must figure out how to recreate this extraordinary flavor sensation and share the figgy love.
A few Googlish searches later, I found a kindred spirit in Paris-based blogger and cookbook writer David Lebovitz, who had the goods on my newly beloved spread. An original creation of the Jimtown Store, a gourmet/country store in Sonoma wine country, the recipe details are below. Read’em and then scurry to the store; life is too short to be without fig tapenade.
Today is chat day; join me at 1 ET for this week’s What’s Cooking.
Jimtown Store’s Fig and Black Olive Tapenade
½ cup dried Black Mission figs, stemmed and halved
¾ cup water
1 cup black olives (Nicoise, Lyon or Greek), rinsed and pitted
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 small garlic cloved, peeled
½ tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
¼-1/2 cup olive oil (I found ¼ cup just enough)
Salt and pepper, if necessary
In a medium-sized saucepan, simmer the figs in the water for about 30 minutes, until very tender. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the liquid.
If the bowl of a food processor, combine pitted olives, drained figs, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, capers, and fresh rosemary, using the “pulse” function until you have a thick paste. Drizzle in olive oil until you've achieved a chunky-smooth paste. If necessary, use fig liquid to thin out the tapenade.
Serve with your favorite crackers, or in between two pieces of bread for a zinger sandwich spread. Could zest up a piece of grilled fish or chicken, too.
Can be made one or two or days in advance, which allows the flavors to intensify.
Makes about 1 cup.
By Kim ODonnel |
September 30, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
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