Fig Olive Tapenade

It tastes even better than it looks.  I was a little surprised, truthfully.  I volunteered to bring an appetizer for Easter brunch.  I have some crackers in the pantry and a log of goat cheese in the fridge, but was determined not to make a trip to the store.  By now, you know I always have nuts around.  I also found dried figs and half a jar of Kalamata olives.  I'm an olive-lover, but am not totally ga-ga over most olive tapenades I've had.  Too bitter, maybe?  Anyway, they don't tempt me the way you might expect an olive-lover to be tempted.

The addition of figs did the trick.  They add a sweet and chewy oomph that puts this spread in the "tempting" category.  I am sure there must be recipes for something quite similar floating around somewhere.  I did "make this up,"  but I've probably seen it somewhere.  One of my professors in grad school always used to say that we need to acknowledge the shoulders on which we stand.  In other words, the magazines Bon Appetit, Saveur, and Gourmet, my mother's encyclopedic knowledge of food and her accompanying library, and the never-fading kitchen celebrity, my old Cuisinart food processor.

Dump these ingredients in your trusty machine and have the crackers ready.  And you can take all the credit.  I don't mind.

Fig Olive Tapenade

3/4 c. Kalamata olives

3/4 c. dried figs, roughly chopped

1 small garlic clove

1/3 c. walnuts

1 Tb. lemon zest

1 Tb. orange zest

pinch of coarse salt

splash of orange juice

1 or 2 Tb. olive oil

Combine all ingredients except for orange  juice and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a couple times, then add the OJ and olive oil.  Pulse again until mixture turns into a paste (but don't pulse the *%# out of it--you want it to be slightly chunky still.)  Add more liquid if you want to or you think it needs it.

Garnish with walnuts and lemon zest.  Serve with crackers and chevre, if you like.