Here’s a cool appetizer made almost entirely from salty ingredients with big flavors. The first place the dish ever appeared in New Orleans was at Bayona, where Chef Susan Spicer put it on her first menu. It has remained there ever since, accompanying cocktails beautifully. My wife Mary Ann is a great admirer of tapenade, and we have it on the buffet for almost every party at our house.

  • 1/2 cup good-quality olives, pitted, perhaps of several varieties
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 3 standard canned anchovies (or 2 white ones–preferred)
  • 2 Tbs. capers (the smallest you can find)
  • 2-4 basil leaves
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. Tabasco green hot sauce
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Tapenade, garnished with fresh basil and anchovies.

1. With a sharp French chef’s knife, chop the olives and garlic as finely as you can.

2. Put all the ingredients into a food processor. Process for fifteen seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and repeat until the contents are a rough paste.

3. Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and surround with toasted bread of some kind.

Serves 8-12

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