Open Kitchen: Hearty Holiday Tapenade

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TORONTO – The Holidays are always a great time of the year for hosting a charming open house – whether it’s an event for agents and potential home buyers, or just a chance for friends and acquaintances to drop by and say “Season’s Greetings” while enjoying a drink and some festive snacks.

Originally created centuries ago in southern France, tapenades are a popular spread with tons of savoury flavour, and a zesty kick enhanced by their base ingredient of olives. According to The Guardian, in addition to black or green olives, a traditional tapenade should also include capers, oil and thyme.

This month’s featured appetizer recipe is a rich, smooth tapenade that substitutes much of the Guardian recipe’s olive content with roasted red and green bell peppers. This adjustment will lend the final mixture a blend of soft red and olive tones, making it visually perfect for any holiday party or open house.

What You Will Need

  • 50g green olives (pitted);
  •  2 bell peppers – one green, one red;
  • 3 tbsp. capers;
  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil;
  • Pinch of thyme;
  • 1 batch “Open Kitchen” crostini (recipe here).


Firstly, as usual, put on some food preparation gloves so that you can keep things sanitary.

Roasting the Peppers: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Halve your bell peppers lengthwise and carefully use a knife to remove seeds, stems and membranes. Cover the top of a baking sheet with tin foil, and place the pepper halves face-down on the foil. Insert the sheet into the oven and let bake for 25 minutes. After removal, using oven mitts pull up corners of the foil to enclose peppers and let stand for at least 15 minutes.


Combine all ingredients except the olive oil and crostini together in food processor, and run on a medium setting until the hard ingredients have been reduced to fine particles. Dump the mixture out of the processor and into a medium-sized mixing bowl; add in the olive oil and blend vigorously. Transfer to ramekins, then cover and refrigerate.


The simplest and most convenient way to serve the tapenade is to place a ramekin of it in the centre of a plate of our pre-made crostini (which will be best if they are toasted the day of your event).  Include a small spoon, so that guests can cleanly dollop their preferred amount of tapenade onto the toast.

In addition to your homemade crostini, it’s a good idea to keep a back-up bag of store-bought ones around, as you may have some tapenade left over when the batch of crostini has been eaten up.

Tapenades tend to offer a very rich flavour that is best complemented by lighter beverages – we recommend serving with individual bottles of sparkling lemon water.

Pro Tip: If you’re expecting tons of company (not uncommon at this time of year), feel free to double all amounts including the crostini. A doubled recipe might require you to do the blending in two shifts, depending on your food processor’s capacity.

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