Filed under:



There have been olive pastes and concoctions around the mediterranean for centuries, but this dish is relatively recent. It was the invention of Chef Meynier of 'La Maison Dorée' in Marseilles and dates from the 1880s. My version uses a higher proportion of olives and includes lemon zest for added zing.

This will make approx 300ml, 10oz, 1¼ cups.


It is best made a day in advance, though I must confess to enjoying the piquancy of tapenade freshly made.

Serve with crusty bread or bread toasted on the fire or grill pan.


  • 120g\4oz stoned greek-style black olives or Cailletier (les petites olives de Nice)
  • 60g\2oz of Capers
  • 30g\1oz whole anchovies or canned anchovy fillets, rinsed
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 75-100ml\3-4fl. oz. ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Cognac
  • Sprig each of fresh thyme and savory or rosemary (optional)
  • Black pepper

Tools of the Trade

  • Food processor, blender or pestle and mortar
  • Sieve (optional)


Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender with ¾ of the olive oil and process until smooth. Season with black pepper and add more oil to achieve a runnier texture. If you wish to obtain a silky smooth version, pass through a sieve.

If you are using a pestle and mortar begin with the cognac, lemon zest, garlic and herbs (if using). Then add the anchovies, olives and capers and mustard. When you have crushed all of the ingredients to a thick paste, beat in the olive oil and season with black pepper. Traditionally this mixture would be sieved.


Substitute green olives for a lighter, more subtle flavour.