Photo: Victoria Pearson; Styling: Rori Trovato Photo by: Photo: Victoria Pearson; Styling: Rori Trovato

Ojai Tapenade

Alice Asquith of Ojai Olive Oil gave us this thick, savory dip, passed on to her by a relative from Provence, the birthplace of tapenade. Prep and Cook Time: about 1 hour. Notes: If the olives taste too salty or vinegary, rinse them with water before using. The tapenade may be made up to a week ahead and kept chilled, covered.

Sunset APRIL 2007

  • Yield: Makes 2 cups tapenade, serving 6 to 8 as an appetizer dip with vegetables (serving size: 1/4 cup)


  • 1 large head fennel, stalks trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon oil-packed tuna
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup pitted mild black olives, such as kalamata or Niçoise (not oil-cured)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 pound green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 pound small red thin-skinned potatoes (2-in. diameter)
  • 8 to 10 radishes, halved if large
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes


1. Cut fennel bulb lengthwise into 1/4-in.-thick slices. Put into a medium bowl, cover with water, and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

2. Make the tapenade: Put tuna, parsley, anchovies, capers, and thyme in a food processor and whirl until mixture turns into a smooth paste, pausing often to scrape sides with a spatula. Add olives and mustard and whirl until smooth. With food processor running, slowly pour olive oil into top. Turn tapenade out into a serving bowl.

3. Set a steamer basket in a large pot and fill pot with enough water to come just below basket. Cover and bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add beans, cover, and steam until tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Steam cauliflower next, transferring to another bowl when just losing its crispness, about 2 minutes. Add more water to pot if necessary and steam potatoes until tender when pricked with tip of a sharp knife, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to a bowl and set aside. Let cool till just warm or, if serving later, cover and chill.

4. Drain fennel and arrange on a platter with radishes, tomatoes, and steamed vegetables; serve with tapenade.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per 1/4 cup.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 187
  • Calories from fat: 58%
  • Protein: 3.2g
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 1.6g
  • Carbohydrate: 18g
  • Fiber: 3.9g
  • Sodium: 488mg
  • Cholesterol: 8mg

Go to Full Version of

Ojai Tapenade Recipe