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Olive Tapenade as a Dip

March 20, 2010

There’s a restaurant in Sacramento–Piatti Ristorante and Bar–which my friends and I frequented years ago.  One of the things I always loved about the place was the dipping sauce they served with the bread at the beginning of each meal.  Years after I left Sacramento and started to learn how to cook, I tried to duplicate this dipping sauce by combining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and an herb or two.  Not ever knowing what Piatti had in theirs, I think I came pretty close to duplicating the flavor.

Several years ago, I bought a jar of olive tapenade at Trader Joe’s, not really knowing what to do with it.  It remained unused in my pantry until one inspired day, I thought to add a couple of tablespoons to the aforementioned concoction.  Wow!  It livened up the original dip so much.  The saltiness of the olives balanced out the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar while the olive oil brought everything together.  Served with some warm, crusty bread, it’s a true winner.

There’s really no recipe for this but here’s an approximation of what I serve at home:

Olive Tapenade as a Dip

  • 1/4 cup Olive Tapenade, Olive Bruschetta or a combination of both
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 3 – 4  Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (this cuts the sweetness of the vinegar)
  • Chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley this time)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine and serve with warm bread.

    Note:  I’ve also used this tapenade as a pasta sauce.  Post to come soon.

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