I am not going to take credit for this recipe.
It is pretty simple and delicious and it is not mine. It comes from the restaurant I work for and precisely from the Persian chef head of the section where I work most of the time.
The secret of it is the spice he uses: fennel seeds. Those tiny seeds give this spread a freshness and a subtle spiciness that make it light and vivid in taste instead of heavy and greasy. They are a favorite of mine, together with anise seeds. Both of them, teamed with garlic, are a pairing made in heaven. Try them with red bell peppers and aubergines as well and you will be surprised how good and special they will taste like.
To be extremely precise this recipe cannot be called exactly tapenade, because of the “original” version with black olives, capers and anchovies had definitely nothing to do, so if you are picky and like to stick to the origin don’t call it tapenade, pretend it is just an olive spread, which it is, I just happen to like that word. And I have another recipe that I call tapenade, made with black olives, another favorite of mine, and still has nothing to do with the original one. So, see, it is kind of a habit here.
Anyway, like the more common black olive tapenade, this can be put together in no time and slap with generosity in some freshly toasted Italian bread to eat as a snack or an appetizer. I would even dare you can use it to season pasta or cous cous as I do with my black olive version, but I didn’t try it so I cannot promise it will be a hit. To add some proteins you can even add few tablespoons of dehulled hemp seeds, to transform it into a protein rich spread that can substitute with dignity a meat based one.
- 160 g green olives (pitted)
- 30-50 g sun-dried tomatoes (in olive oil, drained)
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- Blend all the ingredient together until you get a smooth paste.
- It is possible to use sun-dry tomatoes not in olive oil, just soak them in hot water for half an hour before adding them to the rest.