Like so many others I love France and French food, the way they use everything available, waste nothing and can bring out the very best in the humblest of ingredients. While some think of French food as a complicated, cheffy, over styled cuisine, for me it is the rustic, rural dishes that grab my interest and tickle my taste buds the most.
Tapenade originally hails from the Provence region of France where olives feature as the main ingredient. While I love making tapenade with olives I also like to mix things up a bit and try different veggies to get different flavours and textures into this simple paste like sauce/dip. This is my Cavolo Nero Tapenade made with the richly robust cabbage from Italy. A little bit of a Mediterranean flavour fusion.
I always think that the leaves of this tasty cabbage look almost prehistoric and dinosaur like with their deep green colouring and bubbled up lumpy texture like some huge reptilian skin. Luckily my Jurassic fantasies end there and once I’ve patted the leaves a few times while rinsing them I get over myself and can make this quick, easy and oh so simple sauce.
Cavolo Nero has thick leaves so you will want to steam these first for just five minutes before making the tapenade to soften them up a little and also ramp up the flavour.
I use traditional capers, lemon juice and zest, anchovies, olive oil and black pepper as well as the cabbage for my Cavolo Nero Tapenade. Really it is just a case of whazzing them all together in your food processor until you get the consistency you prefer. Don’t season with salt as the anchovies are salty enough.
You can serve your tapenade on slices of baguette in the traditional French style, as a dip or as I have here, simply stirred into a bowl of steaming pasta with a spoonful of cottage cheese and then a few shavings of parmesan on top.
Just a few ingredients, very simple preparation and a super tasty result, now that’s what I call kitchen crafting!
- 8 leaves of Cavolo Nero cabbage
- 6 anchovies drained
- 1 tbsp capers drained
- juice and zest of ½ lemon
- black pepper to taste
- olive oil
- Steam the cavolo nero leaves for 5 minutes to soften.
- Whazz everything in a food processor and drizzle in the olive oil until you get the consistancy you prefer.
- Store in a lidden jar in the fridge and use within 4 days.