The real Tapenade

Recipe for Tapenade
Before beeing a software tool for some rather obscure and confidential purpose, tapenade is indeed a much appreciated condiment of the provençal cuisine. You can probably find some at your grocer's. Otherwise, here is a recipe. For these hefty matters, just like for A.D., approximation can be dangerous. Therefore, here is something very close to the original recipe, that we found in J.-B. Reboul's "La cuisinière provençale". This venerable reference cookbook has been constantly reprinted since 1897. Our copy is the 27th reprint, dated 1998.

Cover of J.-B. Reboul's 'la Cuisinière Provençale', Tacussel Editor, 191 Blvd Baille, Marseille

According to J.-B. Reboul, tapenade was invented by Mr Meynier from restaurant "La Maison Dorée" in Marseilles. The restaurant does not exist any more :-(
In provençal, tapeno means caper.
  • 200 grammes of black olives, nuts removed,
  • 200 grammes of capers,
  • 100 grammes of anchovies, in filets,
  • 100 grammes of tunafish, marinated,
  • one tablespoon of mustard,
  • 0.2 liter of olive oil,
  • 5 centiliter of cognac or brandy,
  • ground pepper and spices such as thyme, romarin, origan

Simply crush the olives, capers, anchovies and tuna in a mortar, very finely, and then pass through a sieve. Add a good quantity of ground pepper, the mustard and the spices. then slowly incorporate the olive oil and then the cognac, whipping constantly. This can be stored for several days in an airtight jar in the fridge.

This is a recipe from the old days. If you can't spend that much time in the kitchen, the recipe can be vastly simplified. Many forget the tunafish and the brandy, and the result is generally quite acceptable. It is also perfect when not crushed that finely. Tapenade on toasts makes a great apéritif in summer, with a glass of cold rosé wine. You can also put some on barbecued lamb chops. Otherwise we trust your imagination...