Tapenade — Olive Spread Appetizer

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 22, 2011

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The best recipes are passed from hand to hand, from one cook to another. Give me a tried-and-true gem from a good cook’s kitchen, and I’m sure to be happy with it.

This Tapenade is a good example of that.

Many cooks have their own version, but this one was originated by chef Joyce Goldstein, who published it in her book “The Mediterranean Kitchen.”  But I first tasted it at a party thrown byLos Angeles caterer Gisele Perez, who features it on her blog as a spread for her “Cal-Italo Muffelata” sandwiches.

It was the best tapenade I ever had – fragrant, garlicky and bright with a citrus zing. I couldn’t stay away from it!

And so, in turn, I made it recently for a friend’s birthday party, and partygoers couldn’t stay away from it, either. I had e-mails the next day asking for the recipe. So Hope E., here it is!


The appetizers were awesome! I recommend everyone throw herself an appetizer birthday party!

Recipe: Tapenade

Summary: A fragrant, garlicky olive spread with a bright zing from citrus. Perfect with crackers, as a sandwich spread, dolloped onto scrambled eggs or a baked potato!


  • Tapenade1 cup pitted Niçoise or Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons rinsed and chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons rinsed and chopped anchovies
  • A few grindings of fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or Armagnac (optional but use it if you have it)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. Whirl all ingredients in a food processor until the olives are finely ground.
  2. Serve in a bowl with crackers surrounding.
  3. Serves 8. (Just kidding, serves 1.)

Quick notes

From chef Joyce Goldstein, who published it in her book “The Mediterranean Kitchen,” via caterer Gisele Perez.


What do you do with Tapenade:
–Use it as a spread for crackers or baguette slices
–Use as a sandwich spread
–Dollop a bit on a fried egg if you are an adventurous breakfast eater
–Stir a dollop into your ground beef when you are forming hamburger patties
–Dollop on top of a baked potato

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Diet tags: Raw

Number of servings (yield): 8

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew Miller January 14, 2020 at 10:02 pm

I’ve made this twice. First time was amazing. Second time, tried to do vegan for a friend without anchovies. I don’t have a lot of experience with them, but this is definitely better with them. Seriously, the one serving thing is accurate!


Dorothy Reinhold January 15, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Yep, the anchovies are key, aren’t they? Thanks for letting me know you love this one. I’m trying to think of something you could use instead of anchovies for your vegan friend, and I am coming up blank. EXCEPT…what about a little crumbled seaweed (nori flakes)? Just a thought. If I tried this, I would just make a tiny bit with that in it, in case you don’t like it.


DORAL ALLEN October 1, 2017 at 11:28 am

Please let me know the real serving size.


Dorothy Reinhold October 5, 2017 at 1:56 pm

You don’t like my joke about it serving 1? 🙂


bikracer July 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I make a wonderful pasta using olive tapenade. It’s from the Martha Stewart web site. Linguine with Tapenade, Tomatoes, and Arugula, it’s simple and delicious, http://www.marthastewart.com/852378/linguine-tapenade-tomatoes-and-arugula
Matter of fact I’m making it for dinner tonight.


Dena Stevens April 21, 2013 at 5:55 am

I was really expecting the answer below to be “along as you can hide it” Sounds like a recipe I’ll be trying very soon!


Nena November 29, 2011 at 10:52 am

OK…question – How long will this keep in the refrigerator? It might make a great hostess gift if it will keep.


Dorothy November 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

It will keep for weeks! It’s olives and olive oil, basically. How long do you keep a jar of opened olives in your refrig? Me….months!


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