Monday, March 19, 2012

Nan’s ‘Tapenade 101’

Tapenades come to us from the Provençal region of France, which stretches along the Mediterranean from Northern Italy and into Spain.  It originally was a simple paste consisting of olives, olive oil and capers (tapenade is the Provençal word for caper!).  It was most commonly served as a spread on crackers, crudités, or crostini, and it was best if you had a glass of Pernod close by.  Over time, tapenades have been enhanced with new flavors - additions of garlic, lemon, anchovies and herbs to name a few.

At Nan’s Gourmet Foods, tapenades are members of our ‘Nan Approved Foods’ family.  We feature five; each with a new take on the classic:

White Wine Artichoke & Roasted Garlic – Pale in color, the star ingredient, artichoke, is married to fabulous savory partners, white wine and roasted garlic.  Making the party even better are water chestnuts, a zip of chili pepper, parsley and a hint of lemon.
Bruschetta – our Bruschetta borrows its flavor from its namesake classic Italian cousin.  Tomatoes are slow roasted and combined with onions, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, capers and our own balsamic vinegar for this timeless country masterpiece.
Lemon Caper Artichoke – smooth silky artichokes are once again celebrated in this tapenade take, but the co-stars are different, making for a new taste sensation.  Lemon and peppery capers bring a new zing along with garlic and a hint of Parmesan cheese.
Green Olive Provençal - The South of France comes to life with our spicy green olive tapenade. Red bell pepper, capers, garlic, Herbes de Provence and a hint of lemon create a smooth satisfying spread.  Of the olive tapenades, this one is chunkier and has a bit of spiciness. 
Mediterranean Black Olive - Inspired by the old world tastes of the Mediterranean, our black olive tapenade is rich and luxurious.  Extra virgin olive oil, garlic and delicate spices are melded with three types of minced black olives.  It tends to be silkier and milder than the Green Olive version.

OK, so you have a new jar of Nan’s tapenade, can you do anything more with it other than just as an appetizer with the obligatory glass of wine?

Well, you can probably guess our answer...  YES!  And here are some ideas.  We would love to hear yours as well, please post away!
  • Pasta Sauce – in a sauce pan combine your favorite tapenade with just enough white or red wine (chicken stock will also do the trick) to thin it out.  Heat and combine with your favorite freshly cooked wide noodle pasta, like a fettuccine, or even a penne or rotini.
  • As a Super Condiment – try using a tapenade on your next burger, or on a sandwich instead of mustard and mayonnaise.
  • Pizza??  - We have had some of our fans tell us to spread a tapenade on a pizza shell, like a Boboli, and then bake in the oven.  We haven’t tried it yet, but it sure sounds good! 
  • Omelet – try some as a filling for your next omelet, along with some goat cheese!
  • Deviled TapanEggs? – replace the mashed egg yolk in deviled eggs with your tapenade of choice.
  • A Slightly Advanced Entree – try using a tapenade in a roulade – for example, spread over a flank steak, roll up, tie with string and bake in the oven.  There are several example roulade recipes online, including one from my personal hero Alton Brown.
Anything you like in the above list?  Anything you would like to add?  Please let us know!!

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