American cook and baker David Lebovitz has spent the past 10 years living, eating and cooking in Paris. In My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories, Lebovitz offers captivating stories alongside 100 recipes that convey the spirit of the Paris food scene he's grown so fond of. This unfussy recipe for Green Olive, Basil and Almond Tapenade is perfect as a delightfully decadent snack or appetizer.

Green Olive,Basil, and Almond Tapenade
tapenade d’olives vertes au basilic et aux amandes

Serves 6 to 8

When I started my website back in 1999, I never intended to focus on recipes. It was meant to complement my cookbooks by providing additional information, stories and a way to be in touch with readers. But then I moved to Paris. And as I shopped and hit the markets, I got so excited to share all the great things I was tasting and learning about that I couldn’t resist posting those recipes right after I made them. However, I soon realized that I had to respond to an onslaught of recipe requests if I posted a snapshot of a basket of croissants or a gilded gateau Saint-Honore I had admired in a bakery.

(Unfortunately, recipes for fancy Parisian pastries cannot be condensed into 140 characters, nor am I very good at tapping out instructions for rolling puff pastry while riding home on the metro using those itty bitty keys on my smartphone.)

I also realized that no matter what I wrote about on my blog, the ingredients that were available in Birmingham weren’t necessarily available in Brisbane or Bangkok, and every recipe I posted would be followed by a number of requests for substitutions. I had to learn to cover every conceivable base when writing recipes for a global audience because something common in France or America, like olives or canned artichokes, might not be available in Fiji or Argentina. Not to mention folks have various food preferences, allergies and likes and dislikes, such as my fear of squid, which scare the bejeezus out of me (so I understand them 100 percent).

Fortunately, I am pretty sure that anyone just about anywhere can make this recipe and there’s certainly nothing scary about it. Olives are hardy souls and are available jarred or canned. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a country where almonds aren’t available. (But if you can’t get almonds, pistachios make a great substitute). And basil is grown in greenhouses in places where the climate doesn’t welcome outdoor cultivation. So I think I covered everything and there’s no excuse not to make this—unless, of course, you don’t like olives, are allegic to nuts or have an aversion to garlic. Then I can’t help you.

  • 2 cups (260g) green olives, pitted
  • 13 cup (35g) whole untoasted almonds
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and squeezed dry
  • ½ cup (15g) loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup (125ml) olive oil
  • Sea salt or kosher salt

1. Put the olives, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and capers in the bowl of a food processor. (I don’t use a mortar and pestle for this because I like the slightly chunky bits of almonds in the finished tapenade.)

2. Coarsely chop the basil leaves, add them to the processor, and pulse the machine a few times to start breaking them down.

3. Add the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Pulse the food processor until the mixture forms a coarse paste, one that still has a little texture provided by the not-entirely-broken-down almonds.

The tapenade will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.

Excerpted from My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories © 2014 by David Lebovitz. Reproduced by permission of Ten Speed Press. All rights reserved. Read our review of this book.

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