Salty-sweet umami in a jar, this parve fig and olive tapenade comes together quickly in a food processor or blender and is perfect for cheeseboards and other guest snacking situations. It uses dried figs as well as kalamata olives, capers, and fresh herbs.
Putting out delightful nibbles for guests is part of the fun of hosting, not the mention it buys the cook some time to finish up in the kitchen. This fig and olive tapenade has all the umami and pairs beautifully with cheese, but is also at home in a parve or meat spread. With thyme and optional rosemary, this tapenade crammed with winter herb flavors and is sweet, salty, and complex.
Ingredients for the fig and olive tapenade:
Though fig and olive are the dominant flavors (and ingredients) in this tapenade, it has a fairly long ingredient list that all works in concert. To make it, you'll need:
- About 10 dried figs (any kind will work)
- 1 cup of pitted kalamata olives
- Lemon juice
- Dijon mustard
- Fresh thyme and, optionally, fresh rosemary (it's good, and diffferent, both with and without rosemary)
- Olive oil (you probably won't need the full amount)
Making the tapenade
Because you'll simmer the figs in water for half an hour, this tapenade requires a bit of advance planning. Other than that, it's mostly a matter of pulling out all the ingredients as well as your food processor or blender (a small jar works better here). If your figs are particularly large or thick stemmed, you might need to trim and halve or quarter them. If they're small, I don't bother with that.
Serving the tapenade
The tapenade is great on its own on crackers or mini toasts. I like it paired with brie or goat cheese, and you can even spread it on a sandwich to ratchet up an everyday bite.
Looking for more nibbles to serve?
- Moroccan Meat Cigars - These require some work, it's true, but they're a showstopper and a great meat appetizer.
- Prepared Tahini - You'll need these for dipping your meat cigars, but tahini is also wonderful on its own. You can drizzle it with olive oil and top with pine nuts or anything you'd put atop hummus, and serve with pita wedges.
- Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini - This makes a great appetizer salad, as well as part of dinner.
Fig and Olive Tapenade
- Food processor or blender
- ½ cup dried figs - 90g
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives - 150g
- ½ Tbsp capers - drained
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tsp fresh rosemary leaves - optional
- 2-4 Tbsp olive oil - approximately - 150 ml
- Place the figs in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until the figs are very soft and most of the water is absorbed. Drain, if more than a tablespoon or 2 of water remain, reserving the rest.
- Place the drained figs and 1-2 tablespoons of water into a food processor or blender along with the olives, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, capers, and thyme. Process to a thick paste.
- Drizzle in half the olive oil and process to a spreadable consistency, adding more oil as needed.