This rich black olive tapenade with dried figs and rosemary is a sweet, salty and savoury spread or dip. It makes a tasty accompaniment to summer’s drinks, a simple starter/appetizer, and is a delicious way to jazz up so many dishes, from pasta to pizza.
Traditional tapenade is a finely chopped or blended mixture of olives, caper and anchovies. I love the saltiness that anchovies bring, but in this tapenade I have left them out, making it a tapenade suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
This black olive tapenade is made with sweet dried figs and fragrant rosemary. It reminds me of one of my first dates with Mr Jones. We went to a French bistro, and were surprised to see it so full on a weekday night. There was also live music, and someone singing songs from Les Miserables. Not the norm for this small restaurant situated in one of the back streets of the small English walled city of Chester. We were halfway through our starters when we realised we had completely forgotten it was Bastille Day. My starter/appetizer was tapenade on a croustade with goats cheese and rosemary, and whenever I eat tapenade made with black olives and rosemary I think back to that day.
I love using dried figs with olives, they make the tapenade taste sweet as well as salty. Using dried figs and jarred olives means the ingredients are often on hand, making it a great dish for an unexpected drinks party or last minute lunch or dinner.
Try to use Kalamata olives if you can rather than just black olives, as they give a far greater and complex flavour. Gently heating the olives releases their flavour, but you want to just heat them rather than cook or fry them.
Herbs: use ½ tsp fresh thyme instead of rosemary. I have fresh rosemary growing in the garden (it’s the only thing that grows with vigour) but leave it out rather than using dried rosemary.
Olives: Use black or kalamata olives.
My favourite ways to use this tapenade:
- Use it on a charcuterie board with cheeses, fresh vegetables, ham and bread
- On crostini with goats cheese
- A thin layer spread on a sandwich in place of butter.
- Stir through hummus
- Use a thin layer on a pitta pizza
- Thin out with a little olive oil and drizzle over roast veggies, or pasta
- Use as a salad dressing
Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you like this recipe you may also like:
Venezuelan Guasacaca – an fresh and zingy version of Guacamole
Roast Vegetable hummus with crunchy almonds
Hungarian Korozott – an easy cottage cheese dip
Fig and Rosemary Black Olive Tapenade
- 1 c | 180g soft dried figs roughy chopped
- Sprig Fresh Rosemary
- ½ c | 80g olives Stones removed. See note below
- 1 tbsp capers in vinegar
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- Heat the dried figs, 3 tbsp water, and the rosemary in a small frying pan over medium heat for 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and add the olives.
- Cook for 30 seconds then turn the heat off and cool for a couple of minutes.
- Discard half of the rosemary – leaving all of it in the tapenade will be too strong.
- Tip into a mini blender with the capers and olive oil - or use a stick blender - and pulse a couple of times to get your desired consistency.
- Spoon into a bowl and use straight away or keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.