In the south, alongside the barrels of olives in brine, superb capers are often available. Buy whatever you can afford or carry and store them in their own brine in a lidded jar in the refrigerator. In Provence there is a particularly fine variety known as ‘non-pareil’ and, if possible, these are the best for tapenade, whose name comes from the Provençal tapena for caper. Tapenade is also very good served with bread alone.
Stone the olives and crush in a mortar. Gradually add the rinsed fillets of anchovy, the capers, tuna fish and the juice of half the lemon. Work all the ingredients together to make a fairly smooth paste. Or purée everything in a processor, but not too smoothly.
Slowly add the oil to the paste as when making mayonnaise. Check the flavour and add more lemon juice if required.
Spoon on to a serving dish and surround by sliced or quartered hard-boiled eggs.
© 1987 Geraldene Holt. All rights reserved.