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There are many ways to make this delicious roasted vegetable paste. Below are some of mine.
I like mine with four basic ingredients: eggplant, mushrooms, olives, and sundried
tomatoes. Plus good olive oil, salt and pepper. But you could put just about
anything in it. Julia Child has a recipe which includes cooked egg yolks and
then she takes the filling and puts it into hard boiled egg white halves (a
la deviled eggs). Her recipes had all sorts of odd ingredients, but no eggplant.
You could use capers or artichoke hearts. Many tapenades I've seen are very
heavy on the olives. My husband prefers them heavy on the eggplant. My daughter
loves eggplant and mushrooms. I like all of the above. Feel free to adjust the
recipe to have less eggplant. Both ways are good.
Basic eggplant-heavy recipe:
3 very large globe (egg shaped) eggplants - wash and remove cap, slice in half lengthwise but do not peel.
Half a dozen or so brown mushrooms (about 2" diameter) - wash and leave whole...if you use larger ones, pop off the stem and cook in same pan.
About 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes. Mine are slices in olive oil with herbs. Any form soft enough to process is fine.
About 1/2 cup black pitted olives. DO NOT USE BLACK MISSION CANNED (they are not really black and they have no flavor at all).
Salt and pepper.
Really good extra virgin olive oil (the expensive stuff), about 1/4 cup.
Water as needed. I used about 1/2 cup.
Bake the eggplant and mushrooms dry in a 350F oven for a couple of hours, until eggplant is soft. I didn't use oil or salt because I didn't want to overcook my good oil or to dilute it by using ordinary oil. Check every 20-30 minutes and turn so nothing burns.
You can then proceed to the next part of the recipe, or you can do what I did and just turn the heat off in the oven and leave it until the next day.
In a food processor with a basic blade on the bottom, puree the eggplant (do not peel), mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and olives until mostly smooth. If you prefer, process some less smoothly, remove, and process the rest until smooth, mix later. This is best when there is texture to it, mostly from the olives.
Add water if needed to make processing smoother, but don't liquefy.
Add salt and pepper and olive oil, process.
Turn out to storage container.
This should have a constancy like thick baba ganoosh or hummus.
It was delicious. The only thing was I wondered what the heck to do with it. I ate it cold on crackers (Dr. Kracker lowcarb crackers). I fed it to my daughter (who adored it). I ate it plain. It's meant to be cold, but is nice hot too.
Then I found the perfect use. Recently, I had asked for a vegan pizza topping that would be a nice alternative to cheese. Well, we tried my tapenade. It was amazing!!! It was hot and creamy and delicious. We did put some feta cheese on the pizza, which went with the tapenade well, but is optional. We skipped the tomato sauce but added vegetable toppings.
It's great on sandwiches. It gives you a full feeling like you get from cheese. The mouth feel is similar, though the taste is completely different. You won't miss dairy with this stuff. We also use it on burgers (like Boca Burgers). Believe it or not, it's lovely warmed up on burgers with cold mayo and avocado.
You can warm it and put it on pasta (Nutrition Kitchen's soy angel hair is great).
My daughter, currently age 10 months, eats it hot or cold by the handful. It is the only food she will allow us to spoon feed to her.
(adapted from posts to LCVeg Dec 2005)