Artichoke tapenade with rosemary oil

Have you been asked to bring appetizers to Thanksgiving? Want to move beyond a pre-made vegetable-and-dip plate from the grocery store? Feel that hummus, however delicious, isn’t quite special enough? Worried that bringing good cheese for 15 will break the bank?

Here’s the plan: run to the store for canned artichokes, olives, capers, and lemon. Heat some oil and infuse with rosemary. Then whirl everything together in the food processor to make this glorious, earthy, herby artichoke dip. Put in a couple of pretty bowls, bring a few baguettes, and your job is done. Everyone will love you for it.

Artichoke tapenade with rosemary oil (serves 10-12 for appetizers)
From David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen

Ingredients
Tapenade
Two 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts (4 cups), drained and halved
1 cup pitted green olives (good quality, not the watery cocktail ones)
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
sea salt or kosher salt
Rosemary oil*
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/3 cup rosemary leaves (or tarragon or sage)

*Rosemary oil is optional, I guess, but it adds a depth and herbiness to this tapenade that most artichoke dips lack. If you have the time, do it!

Instructions
Tapenade
In the bowl of a food processor, puree the artichokes, olives, olive oil, capers, lemon juice, garlic, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Taste, and season with a bit of salt if necessary.

Place in a serving bowl and drizzle with rosemary oil. Serve with toasted slices of baguette or crackers, for dipping. Will keep up to 4 days in the fridge—but don’t expect it to be able to resist dabbing it on top of everything from toast to cheese to, um, a spoon.

Rosemary oil
Bring a small pot of water to boil (or microwave a bowl of water until boiling); have a bowl of ice water ready. Add the herbs to the boiling water and cook for 10 seconds; drain, and place the herbs in the ice water.

Heat the oil and salt in another small saucepan until warm, but not boiling. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the herbs are cool, lift them out with your hand and press them in a paper towel until very, very dry. Add them to the oil. Let stand, infusing, for 15 minutes.

Blend the herbs and oil in a mini-chopper or food processor for 30 seconds, then strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer into a jar. (If you don’t have a mini chopper, you could also remove the herbs from the oil, chop very finely, stir back into the oil, and then strain.)

Can be kept for a few days at room temperature in a closed container, or for up to 1 month in the refrigerator (let come to room temperature before using).

Other uses for rosemary oil: Worth making a double recipe to dab on top of grilled chicken breasts, white fish, an omelet, or just, you know, your nightly baguette.

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