published Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Courters' Kitchen: Olive tapenade is 'tres bon' for picnic fare

Barry and Kelley Courter

This monthly cooking series features husband and wife team Barry and Kelley Courter.

  • photo
    For a summer picnic with a French flare, Kelley Courter made olive tapenade, which she served on a baguette. She also made pork liver pate using a recipe from Jacques Pepin and served both with cheese and fresh fruit.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BARRY SAYS: I suppose picnic food can mean different things to different people. Growing up, it meant a trip to see the Colonel and big bucket of chicken. I know for a lot of people it means potato salad, baked beans and something charred on a grill.

What you lay out on your blanket or picnic table can also vary depending on the event. Tonight's Pops on the River concert featuring the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera at Coolidge Park is more a wine-and-cheese type of picnic. Thursday's Fourth of July celebration calls for something grilled and served on a bun.

KELLEY SAYS: Our picnic is better suited for the Pops show. I wanted to do a nice little French picnic with olive tapenade, bread, cheeses and wine. I was inspired to come up with my version of the tapenade after a friend gave me some olives from France. It is fairly easy to make, and I really like the flavor.

This a traditional item from the south of France that is made primarily of olives, capers and anchovies, though I didn't use capers this time around. I went with the pickles, and I like the way it turned out.

BARRY: There aren't many occasions where I like anchovies, but they definitely make the tapenade better. Don't let the tiny, salty fish scare you off from trying this. Il est tres bon -- for those not as "continental" as me, that's French for "It is very good."

KELLEY: It partners so well with the olives.

I also wanted to try my hand at making some pate. I just Googled Jacques Pepin's pork liver pate and followed his recipe.

To complete the picnic basket, we added fresh blueberries, blackberries and a baguette from the local markets, some good mustards and a variety of quality cheeses.

BARRY: It's a great meal. Now where is my chapeau?

Olive Tapenade

1 can Lindsay natural green ripe olives, drained

3/4 pint pitted nicoise olives

4-6 anchovies

3-4 large fresh garlic cloves

2-3 tablespoons fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon summer savory

1-2 tablespoons fresh chives

3 tablespoons chopped dill pickle

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons of whole-grain dijon mustard

Mix olives, anchovies, garlic in blender to fine blend, then stir in additional ingredients. Serve on garlic croutons.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter or 423-757-6354.

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