Tapenades (which are mixtures of chopped olives, capers, olive oil and often anchovies, plus some herbs) are very lovely condiments to have around, like pestos, and can be used in so many ways to spark up a meal. This one makes the most of ramps during their brief season, but you could use shallots instead, or a couple of cloves of garlic and a couple of scallions.
Add a spoonful to sautéed mushrooms, smear some under the skin of a chicken before roasting the bird, use it on crostini, add to salad dressings, toss with pasta, spread on sandwiches, or serve with sliced cucumbers or peppers as a dip.
The type of olive you choose will affect the flavor of the tapenade, though pretty much any olive will be great. Many tapenades are made with black olives, but some are made with green, like this one. Want to try black olives instead? Go for it.
Here’s a little 101 on some of the most readily available green olive varieties, all of which will be great in this tapenade.
- Castelvetrano olives are bright green, with a hint of sweetness. They have a rich green color, meaty, buttery flesh, and a soft flavor.
- Cerignola olives are super large, with a lush flavor and a somewhat crisp texture.
- Picholine olives have some crunch to them, and a bright flavor with a hint of anise.
Sometimes yo’ll just be buying a little tub of green olives, and the provenance will be unknown to you. That’s a-ok. This tapenade is going to be great, no matter what olives makes it’s way into it.
More ramp recipes!
Green Olive and Ramp Tapenade
- 1 ½ cups green olives such as Pichilone or Cerignola
- 4 ramps cleaned and trimmed
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Coarse or kosher salt if needed and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Place the olives, ramps, lemon juice, olive oil, and thyme in a food processor and puree. Taste and add salt and pepper (you’ll need little to no salt because of the saltiness of the olives, but lots of black pepper is really good here), and puree again.
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