Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    1 quart

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

This mixture of finely chopped olives makes a marvelous spread for toasted croutons, hot pasta, and grilled vegetables, fish, and meats. This recipe uses a mortar and pestle, but a food processor can be used, although the texture will be more homogeneous and much of the rustic, rough-hewn quality of the sauce will be lost. Tapenade recipes always contain capers—tapéno means “caper” in the Provençal dialect—but the dried currants, which add a note of sweetness that relieves the saltiness of the mixture, are not traditional.


dried currants 6 oz 175 g
oil-cured Moroccan olives 2 lb 1 kg
salt-cured or oil-packed anchovy fillets 4 oz 125 g
garlic cloves, peeled 2 2
capers, drained 3 oz 75 g
extra-virgin olive oil ½ cup 125 ml
salt and pepper to taste to taste


  1. Soak the currants in just enough warm water to cover for 1 hour, to plump and soften them.
  2. Pit the olives by tapping them with a mallet or a heavy pan to push the pits through the flesh.
  3. Soak the anchovies in cold water to eliminate salt and oil (see Note).
  4. Work the garlic and anchovies to a paste with a mortar and pestle.
  5. Drain the currants and add them, the pitted olives, and the capers to the anchovy-garlic paste. Work the mixture to the desired consistency with the pestle; the sauce is always better when left coarse, containing irregular bits and pieces of olive.
  6. Work in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.