Black olive tapenade is excellent on both fresh wild salmon and smoked wild salmon, as well as halibut.

In today’s Wine of the Week pairing column, which you’ll find here, I refer readers who need a recipe for  tapenade to this blog post so here’s a very easy recipe. When you make it to serve with the halibut recipe in the column and to pair it with a Cabernet Sauvignon, it is best to use oil-cured black olvies or a mix of California black and oil-cured black olives. I also omit the basil when I will be serving the tapenade with a bold red wine. At other times, you can use almost any olive, including the mixed olives sold at the olive bars common in upscale markets these days.  If you select the olives yourself, try a mix of kalamatas, picholines, cracked green, and California black.  Salted capers are available in good delis and markets.

I prefer tapenade that has been chopped; if you prefer a smoother, almost pureed texture, pulse the ingredients together in a food processor until you achieve the texture you prefer.

Easy Olive Tapenade • Makes about 1 cup

  • 8 ounces mixed olives, pitted and minced
  • 1 tablespoon salted capers, rinsed and dried
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, optional
  • 1 minced anchovy fillet
  • 2 teaspoons minced lemon zest
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. In a small bowl, toss together the olives, capers and garlic.
  2. Add the parsley, basil, if using, anchovy and lemon zest, season generously with black pepper, stir in the olive oil and set aside for 30 minutes before serving.  The tapénade will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two, after which time its flavors will deteriorate.