Olive and Peppadew Tapenade

I'm becoming quite fond of those bright red pickled peppers you find in the pack your own condiment bar of supermarkets next to the olive bar--you know, the ones that look like tiny mini-me's of red bell peppers but have a lot more zing and are sweet and vinegary and just explode in your mouth with flavor. They're called peppadew peppers and are from South Africa originally. A few years ago they were the latest new, hard to find thing but now they're fairly ubiquitous. That's a good thing for all of us.

They work wonderfully on top of pizzas or in salads, whole or sliced -- I now use them zealously on pepperoni pizzas to really push the zing factor! So, I got to thinking what a fun topping it would make to combine the peppadews with some tapenade ingredients and make a relish-like topping spread that could be used on sandwiches as well as pizzas. Tapenade, for those like me who have heard the word many times but never actually knew the meaning, refers to a Provencial spread traditionally made with anchovies, olives (black or Greek), garlic, and capers, finely chopped or processed into a paste. Pretty fabulous!

But now we use the word to mean many kinds of similar olive-based relishes, such as the one to follow. Once you've made it, feel free to adjust the ingredients to your own taste or create your own similar "tapenades" (yes, we're absconding with the term and making it our own -- we could just as easily refer to it as a topping or relish but tapenade sounds so much cooler). Whatever you call it, you'll love it! How about calling it: Makes Everything Taste Better Relish.

2 cups black olives (or a blend of black and green olives, or even Greek), pitted
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup whole peppadew peppers, packed
1 clove fresh garlic
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Drain the peppadew and olives and make sure there are no pits. Put all of the ingredients in the food processor except the olive oil and process for about 5 to 15 seconds, or until it forms a relish-like consistency, drizzling in the olive oil until you get the consistency you want  (you can process it all the way down to a thick paste if you like, but I prefer preserving the little bits of olives and peppers, which make for a colorful relish). You can also hand chop everything and hand mix if you are so inclined.

Use this mixture generously on top of pizzas or as a sandwich relish on hoagies, subs, heroes, po' boys, or muffuletta (in other words, on hoagies and all the hoagie offspring -- remember, I'm from Philly where we take our secret hoagie spreads pretty seriously!).

PS  Here's a link to a peppadew website:



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