Tag: tapenade

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto with Capers, Anchovies and Lemon

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

This pesto is so rich in unbeatably strong aromas, velvety black olives, fresh parsley, salty capers and anchovies, spicy onions and garlic and some lemon juice and mustard to finish it off! It resembles the Provençal tapenade but the parsley and onions give it a lighter and fresher touch, it makes this dish feel Italian. It’s great with pasta but also as a spread on crunchy grilled bruschetta. Although I’m not the biggest fan of raw onions I must say that they make sense in this recipe, they add more of a sharp spiciness than an overpowering taste of onions which is quite often the case when this uncooked vegetable is involved.

This is another one of those convenient pantry/ fridge/ balcony dishes, made with ingredients that I always find in these three places! My mother used to make a similar pesto with pasta, I played around with it over the years, added a few flavours until it became this recipe. You could also add some sun-dried tomatoes, chop in some fresh tomatoes or replace the parsley with basil. That’s what I love about pesto, it can follow your mood and kitchen stock!

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

 

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto with Capers, Anchovies and Lemon

For 3-4 people you need

linguine or spaghetti, cooked al dente, 300-400g / 10.5-14 ounces
black (preferably Kalamata) olives 15
parsley, the leaves of a medium sized bunch, leave out a few leaves, roughly chopped, for the topping
anchovies, rinsed and dried, 2
capers 1 tablespoon
shallot 15g / 1/2 ounce
garlic, 2 cloves
pine nuts 15g / 1/2 ounce
freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon plus more to taste
mustard 1/8 teaspoon plus more to taste
olive oil 50ml / 1 3/4 ounces
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar for the topping

Mix the ingredients in a food processor, it should be a smooth paste. Season with lemon juice and mustard to taste.

Serve the pasta with the pesto on warm, big plates, sprinkled with black pepper and parsley.

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

 

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

 

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

 

Black Olive and Parsley Pesto

Sicilian Sfincione with Tapenade

Sfincione with Tapenade

Forget about thin and crisp, this pizza is thick and juicy! The Sicilian Sfincione is more like a focaccia, the dough is made with eggs and milk which gives it a bit of a sweet bread feeling. Its origin dates back to the late Baroque when the aristocratic Sicilian families liked to employ French chefs, the “Monzu” coming from the French Monsieur, some of them became famous Sicilian chefs. Here’s the beauty of culinary exchange between two cultures, they influence each other, they don’t confine each other but merge and evolve! If only cultural exchange was always so easy and well received!

In the beginning of the 18th century, these chefs started to influence Sicilian cuisine and left quite a few marks in the kitchen, also in the making of pizza. Eggs and milk, sometimes even butter, found their way into this famous dish and created completely different textures and tastes, like the popular Sfincione.

As there is already a French touch involved I thought I might as well continue working with it in the topping. I went for a rich Provençal tapenade made of lots of black olives, capers, anchovies, olive oil, brandy and lemon juice topped with thyme sprigs. It was great! This pizza is perfect for a picnic, as a starter or with a salad on the side. I love pizza, so much that I bake it every Sunday and this Sicilian variation is definitely a summer favourite!

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade

 Sfincione with Tapenade

For 4 Sfincione (15cm / 6″) you need

For the dough

plain flour 500g / 1 pound
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
salt 1/2 teaspoon
organic egg 1
milk, lukewarm, 250ml / 8.5 ounces

Combine the flour with the yeast and salt, add the lukewarm milk and egg and mix with your dough hooks for a few minutes. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball and put it back in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a 35°C / 95°F warm ( top / bottom heat, no fan!) oven for 45 minutes.

Divide the dough into 4, stretch into thick 15cm / 6″ disks on a floured surface and cover with a kitchen towel. Let them rise while you continue the preparation for the tapenade.

 

For the tapenade

black olives 200g / 7 ounces
capers 40
anchovy, rinsed and dried, 2 fillet
olive oil 2 tablespoons plus more for sprinkling
brandy (or cognac) 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoons
mustard 1 teaspoon
pepper
thyme 16 small sprigs for topping

Mix the ingredients for the tapenade in a blender and season with pepper to taste.

 

The Sfincione

Set the oven to 250°C / 480°F, my oven has a special pizza setting but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread a quarter of the tapenade on each pizza, put 4 thyme sprigs on top of each and bake for 6 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with olive oil immediately and serve warm or cold.

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade

 

Sfincione with Tapenade