Tapenade (Caper and Olive Spread) Recipe

Tapenade (Caper and Olive Spread)

“Tapena” is the Provençal word for capers (in French they are called capres). Tapenade was probably already used in Roman times. It can be made from black or green olives and garlic can be substituted by other ingredients. Here is the recipe for the traditional black Tapenade, the most common one used in the Provence.

Use it as a spread for hors-d’oeuvres or to season meats and fish. Tapenade can be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks. You can buy Tapenade in most well-stocked supermarkets or online.

Quantity: 1 1/2 cups (340 g)

Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 cup (142 g) black olives cured in oil and pitted (do not use olives cured in brine)
  • 1/2 cup (200 g) capers, rinsed and well drained
  • 4 salted anchovies fillets, rinsed and dried
  • 1 pinch of Herbes de Provence
  • 1 pinch of coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 5 – 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Combine the olives, capers, and anchovies in a food processor and purée them. Add the herbs, the garlic and a generous grind of pepper.

Before you add some salt (or not), a word of caution: the black olives, capers and anchovies contain a lot of salt. So before adding extra salt, taste the Tapenade and judge for yourself. You might not even need it.

With the motor running at low speed add olive oil little by little until the Tapenade has the consistency of a smooth paste.

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