I received this request on The Joyful Hermit Facebook page:
Can The Joyful Hermit tell me what I can do with something called tapenade? I am taking your advice and bought it on clearance, but don’t know how to use it. There are 3 flavors: Vegetable, Olive, and pepper. It says you can use it on crackers, or toss it with pasta?
The Joyful Hermit thought, “How fun!” Just a few minutes before reading the request, Joyful was thinking how it would be delightful if people would write in questions for The Joyful Hermit to bend the brain waves to come up with ideas. A couple hours ago was on the phone with someone trying to deal with leg pain of a different sort, and how wonderful to be able to share some ideas and insights….
I’ll joyfully dip into tapenade (pronounced tah-pen-aahd). It is a kind of paste that has olives as its main base, but can include vegetables, peppers, anchovies, garlic and various spices. Used mostly as an appetizer spread on toasted breads or crackers, it is interesting to utilize such a flavorful little bundle of taste and texture in any number of creative ways.
In fact, I hit the same clearance items, and brought out the jars in question. ALDI might still have some if you are so inclined; or I’m sure you can find various tapenades (look for sale priced!) at other discount groceries or stores such as Big Lots–whatever is in your geographic area that carries good deals on specialty items. Or make your own….
Some ideas as to how to utilize tapenade:
- Dob it on an omelet as soon as the eggs set enough; add cheese and veggies
- Stir it into the sauteed onions and garlic base in making a soup; add broth and other vegetables and various soup ingredients
- Toss it into pasta or combine with rice; add chopped veggies, meat, cheese
- Spread on soft, warmed cheeses as a colorful appetizer; or spread on individual hard cheese slices and serve with a meal
- Put a dollop in the pitted half of an avocado (keep in peel), spread up and around the cavity with a spoon; eat as a salad course or main luncheon portion
- Mix it with ground round or turkey as a meat loaf addition
- Spread on grilled or baked fish, chicken or other meat it might enhance
- Spoon on warm black beans, garbanzo, or other legumes; sprinkle with cheese
- Toss with steamed vegetables (not overcooked)
- Plop some on a baked potato, still using butter and sour cream if you want
- Spread it in pita bread or use as a sandwich spread
- Smooth it over a pizza crust and use as the base ingredient; add toppings
- Use as a topping on hot-baked, cheesy grits or potato or rice casseroles
- Try it as a spread for wraps and roll-ups; or per usual, on crackers or bread
- Mix it in with a rapini stir fry, or steamed kale or other strong-tasting greens
- Spread it on a halved hard-cooked egg, or remove yolk and mix in, then stuff
- Put it in a puree of cooked cauliflower or turnip, or any kind of creamed dish
Joyful is just warming up to this exercise, but I’ll leave it to anyone interested to email any questions or comments, or other uses for a simple, taste-packed, healthy jar of tapenade….