Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Tapenade (Or “That Yummy Stuff”)

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(Becky, the Mama.)

The first time I created and served this recipe for a patio party, guests kept saying, “Oh my goodness, what IS this yummy stuff?” I struggled to describe what is was, because, as is so often the case, I just put whatever sounded good to me into a pan and crossed my fingers. This recipe began with a pan of diced roasted Greek veggies that becomes a colorful, intensely flavored Mediterranean topping for wedges of hot grilled Naan bread, alongside hummus and a lemon-zest ricotta. If I were to be asked to create a “perfect bite” on some sort of home cook’s competition, I’d serve this Roasted Eggplant and Red Pepper Tapenade on top of, well, just about anything.

This hearty appetizer is perfect with a glass of good wine, either on a hot summer day or a cold winter evening. It is wonderful at just about any temperature but probably best served a room temp which makes it a great no-fuss appetizer for parties. (Also perfect for New Year Celebrations coming up.)

I must confess, I am a little sad when there is not a container of “Yummy Stuff” in the fridge somewhere. It’s become my favorite condiment on top of fresh grilled Naan or Pita,burgers or sandwiches, or as a topping to punch up flavor in everyday spaghetti. If you are vegan, it’s especially nice to keep on hand to add a quick burst of color and flavor to lentils, beans, brown rice or quinoa.

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Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Tapenade

(Or “That Yummy Stuff”)

* Recipe of Roasted Veggies below,cooked, cooled and diced to desired “chunkiness” for spreading
1 T. olive oil
2 T. tomato paste
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 ½ t. sugar
Couple of shakes hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco) to taste
1 T. capers or 1 T. finely chopped pepperoncini peppers
5 large green stuffed olives, sliced (may use black olives if you prefer)
1/3 c. chopped dried tomatoes
1 to 2 T. water, if needed
Salt and pepper, if needed

Directions:

In medium to large skillet, heat olive oil. Add diced roasted Garlic Greek Veggies. Add tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, capers or pepperoncinis, sundried tomatoes, and olives. Stir and cook in skillet until sauce is thick, well-blended and hot and some of the “vinegary” smell and taste is cooked out, about 2 minutes.

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Add water if needed, but keep the tempenade thick. Serve warm, room temperature or even cold if you like. It is amazing on grilled Naan or pita bread atop hummus, fabulous as a thick relish-like topping for a Greek-style burger or any sandwich.

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Mediterranean Garlic Roasted Veggies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:

1 eggplant, peeled and diced about 1 inch cubes
1 red pepper, seeded, stemmed and rough chopped in big chunks
3 big cloves garlic (or 4 smaller ones)
1 red onion, peeled and rough chopped in large chunks

3 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Fresh ground sea salt and pepper (light sprinkling over all)

Directions:

On a large baking sheet sprinkle olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Place chopped eggplant, red pepper and red onion on pan. Using clean hands mix the veggies with the oil and vinegar and then give the whole thing a light sprinkling of fresh sea salt and pepper. Put whole garlic cloves somewhere on pan either wrapped in foil or parchment with a little olive oil; or use a small clay garlic roaster.

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Roast veggies for about 20 to 30 minutes or until veggies just begin to get soft and brown-blackish in spots. Smash soft roasted garlic into a paste with flat edge of knife or fork, and toss with veggies.

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The Title: Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Tapenade
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This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook


Olive Tappenade and Roasted Red Peppers in Garlic Oil

An incredibly easy appetizer trio that will wow your guests.

Last week on vacation, Jared and I celebrated our anniversary at this adorable little wine bistro and had the most beautiful flavorful appetizer trio of hummus, marinated roasted red peppers, and olive tappenade. Though I love olives, I’ve somehow never eaten or made tappenade. I’ve been missing out. I immediately knew I wanted to recreate this rich briny dip when I got home. In fact, I wanted to recreate the whole trio, maybe even the whole evening.

Florida sunshine, live acoustic musicians, a handsome and charming date in flip flops, good wine (at happy hour prices), a flirty sun dress, and delicious simple food. This is my idea of a perfect evening out. I told Jared between sips of chardonnay, “I’m so glad we aren’t all dressed up in stiff uncomfortable clothes, surrounded by a bunch of “fancy,” wealthy people pretending to be something we are not.” His wallet, I mean he, agreed.

This trio of dips is the perfect entertaining appetizer. It presents beautifully and looks sophisticated, but it’s really all incredibly easy to make. You can make it up to a couple of days in advance, then set it out before your guests arrive and forget about it. I picked up a tub of hummus this time and just jazzed it up with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Of course, you can easily make your own hummus too.

Olive Tappenade

Olive Tappenade

Ingredients

1 cup of mixed kalamata and green olives, pitted* (I used a 5oz jar of unpitted olives and it equaled 1 cup pitted olives)
1/2 t. capers
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 T. roasted red peppers (use from the recipe below)
2 T. olive oil
juice of 1/4 lemon
1/4 t. black pepper
pinch of sugar

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor, scraping down the sides as needed. Blend until the olives are chopped very fine — a little chunky is fine. I used a magic bullet and it worked perfect for this size batch. A small food processor would probably result in a tappenade with a little more texture.

Serve with toasted bread or crackers. I used one ciabatta roll, one olive loaf roll, and Mediterranean matzo crackers. The bistro we went to served rosemary focaccia and pita bread with theirs.

*To quickly pit the olives, whack them with a meat mallet and pop the pit right out. I knew I hung onto my meat mallet for some reason!

Roasted Red Peppers in Garlic Oil

Roasted Red Peppers in Garlic Oil

Ingredients

2 red peppers
3 T. olive oil
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1/4 t. salt

Directions

In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil and garlic on medium until the garlic is soft. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon or fork.

Place peppers directly on the flame of your gas stove top or under the broiler of your oven on a pan, turning until the skin is charred on all sides. Once charred on all sides, place immediately in a plastic freezer bag or in a bowl sealed tight with saran wrap. Leave for about 10 minutes (or longer). Discard the inner seeds and stem and gently remove the skins. A damp paper towel can help if they aren’t peeling off easily. Chop the peppers into large bite-size chunks.

Pour the garlic infused oil over the roasted peppers, toss with the salt. Refrigerate for later use or serve at room temperature with toasted bread.

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The Title: Olive Tapenade and Roasted Red Peppers in Garlic Oil
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