Ojai Tapenade

Bright capers, mild black olives, and thyme chopped together with Dijon and a small amount of delightfully pungent oil-packed fish — this tapenade has a deep, briny piquancy and a meaty texture. It tastes wonderful, addictive really, dabbed on a slice of cucumber or spicy radish. The vegetables are so crisp, clean, and fresh, they perfectly complement the tapenade’s rich salt.

If you’re serving it as an appetizer, you could expand on the cucumber and radishes with some heartier veggies, like turnips, red potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, or cauliflower. We also think it’s pretty fantastic on sandwiches: try a lightly toasted ciabatta bun layered with tapenade, smoked turkey, provolone, and roasted red peppers.

Our tip: For wine pairings, we love Gelson’s Syrah with this tapenade. It’s full of black fruit — think blackberries and cassis — and has a lightly spicy finish. It tastes amazing with all that salt and brine.

Servings: 4


1 Tbsp oil-packed tuna
1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, chopped
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
½ tsp dried thyme
1 cup pitted mild black olives, such as kalamata or Niçoise (not oil-cured)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Crudités for serving


In the food processor, combine the tuna, parsley, anchovies, capers, and thyme and whirl until the mixture turns into a smooth paste, pausing often to scrape sides with a spatula.

Add olives and mustard and whirl until smooth.

With food processor running, slowly pour olive oil into top. Turn tapenade out into a serving bowl.

On a platter, arrange your crudités and serve with tapenade.

Recipe source: Sunset Magazine