This time of year is made for low-key meals, with long pre-dinner sessions of rosé and nibbles on the back porch. My repertoire of easy, reliable hors d'ouevres has been expanding every day, as I find that I like to eat small bites more than big meals. Here's my latest favorite: A garlicky, pungent tapenade that you can make in literally 5 minutes. I love the rich, ripe flavor of Kalamata olives in tapenade. I find that I enjoy their flavor better than the tarter taste of green olives. Their only drawback is that they look remarkably like ground raw meat when chopped up in a tapenade like this. I've made this twice this last week and both times was a little taken aback by how much it looked like ground beef.
But what it lacks in aesthetic qualities it makes up for in taste. If you've only had storebought tapenade, you'll be happily surprised by the vivid, fresh flavors of the homemade stuff. And it's so easy — pop everything in a food processor, blend and serve with crackers or chickpea socca, as I did here.
Kalamata Olive Tapenade with Shallots
makes about 1 1/2 cups
12 ounces pitted Kalamata olives, drained
2 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, untoasted
1/4 cup fresh basil or oregano leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Blend everything in a food processor until evenly combined. Serve with crackers or baguette slices. This will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Related: Weekend Snack: The Ultimate Mediterranean Snack
(Images: Faith Durand)