Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dinner and Drinks: Tapenade with Mushrooms

On the list of things I never thought a (then) eight year old girl would love, tapenade would have to be number one with a bullet. It's all the things I hated as a kid: it's unappealing to look at, it has a strong odor of olives, its contains ingredients I had never heard of (capers) that look like miniture peas, bane of my young existence. Then you smear it on bread. There is no way I would have eaten this as a child. MJ loves it, showing once again that she is a smarter kid than I ever was.

This isn't a meal of course. It's an appetizer/finger food. Despite the fancy name it's actually very simple to make. It has a consistency something like caviar, and even looks a bit like it. Rest assured there's no fish eggs in here though. That would be gross.

Tapenade with Mushrooms

Six pieces of french bread, about 4-6 inches long
1 cup portobello mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 cup kalamata olives (or your favorite)
3/4 tbsp capers
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp thyme
3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp butter

fresh parsley (chopped)

Over medium heat melt the butter. Sauteè the mushrooms, sprinkling with salt, pepper and oregano, until soft, about 4-6 minutes. In a small bowl mix 2 tbsp of olive oil and the balsmic vinegar. Submerge the mushrooms (you may want to let them cool first) in the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for at least a 1/2 hour (overnight doesn't hurt; the longer they soak the more flavor they'll retain).

In a food processor combine the olives, remaining oil, garlic, thyme, capers and lemon juice. Pureè until smooth. That's it; you made tapenade!

You can let that set for a bit while you melt some butter or margarine in a microwave. Brush on to your bread and sprinkle with some more oregano. Place in an oven (or toaster oven) and toast that bread until it's a little crispy. Spread the tapenade in a thin layer on the bread (a little goes a long way) and top with the mushrooms. Sprinkle a little chopped parsley and impress your friends.

Tapenade is fun to make because it's easy; you don't have to chop anything. That means it's a simple matter to enjoy some wine while you throw everything in the food processor. Tonight I tried a new one, Red Guitar red. It's another in a long line of $10-$14 wines I grab when I'm at the liquor store. It's "a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha" that has a "rich, powerful flavors, ripe fruit, and a passion capable of warming the heart even in the cool recesses of the cellar". Whatever. It was okay, but it really seemed to me to be a light fruity merlot. It had that consistency anyway. It's not bad, but for the money I can get some Root: 1 cabernet which is much better.

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