Monday, August 24, 2009

Tap Dances With Olives

Olive tapenade is a chunky spread of olives, wonderful on toasted baguettes. I got inspired to make some after a wonderful meal last month at Incanto in San Francisco. They were featuring a series of povera (poor? poverty?) meals based on the cuisine of different areas of Italy. Having never eaten goat, I wanted to go nuts and head over the weekend they were serving braised goat with malloredus (a thick caterpillarish looking pasta). It was actually a $30 fixed price 3 course menu with stuffed tomatoes as the first course, then the goat (not goaty tasting) and for dessert some heavenly macaroons. I've got some pictures of our meal here for you. Unfortunately, the pictures were taken after starting to dig in. I have the toughest time stopping to take photos when I'm hungry!

Anyway, Paul flipped over the olive tapenade and asked me to make some at home, which I have done. It's not a tough trick, just throw some olives in the food processor with some olive oil, crushed garlic, maybe some red pepper flakes if desired. Salt is not needed, as cured olives are already salty. Down to basics: I asked our server what olives they used at Incanto and she said Kalamata (Greek) and Cerignola (Italian). When I went shopping the I looked for an olive bar that used to be in a neighborhood market near my home, and...they had taken it out!!! Olive bars are nice; you can buy just what you need. So I ended up buying a tub of assorted cured Greek olives, with the pits in, unfortunately. I mashed the olives with the flat side of my chef knfe and removed the pits.
1/2 cup oil cured olives
1 crushed garlic clove
dash red pepper flakes (optional)
orange zest, grated with a microplane (optional)
minced fresh mint (optional)
(go wild)
drizzling extra virgin olive oil

Pulse process olives, garlic, red pepper flakes until chunky. With motor running, drizzle a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Actually, do it by sight; you don't want a soggy mess, but the oil helps the blades grab hold of the ingredients.

Serve with toasted baguette slices. Try it with some fresh goat cheese and slice of roasted red bell pepper for a heartier snack.


  1. I've never cooked or eaten enough goat to make a judgement ...I'd rather REALLY taste it before I try to cook it. I'm open to try most foods and goat is right up there on my "things to taste" list. The dish looks hearty and right on time for this coming where can I get a sample (hint, hint)?

  2. BTW, Goat Cheese is one of my favorites. I love strong, hard to semi-hard cheeses. Suggestions?

  3. Muse: Yes, we have no goat samples available. It's offering at Incanto was unusual but you can try their website to check out their current offerings. Mexican markets commonly carry goat meat, and I actually saw it at the Westside Market in Cleveland on a recent vacation. (To be blogged about soon.) If you decide to braise some goat, let me know how it turned out!
    Re the goat cheese, I especially like it, but I'm guessing shaved parmesan would be delicious too.