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European, French, Provence
Fig Tapenade

Photo by: Joseph DeLeo
Comments: 0


Tapenade—the olive, caper, and anchovy spread—is one of the classic hors d’oeuvres of Provence. Unfortunately for the health-conscious, its two main ingredients, olives and olive oil, are loaded with fat. I got an idea for a reduced-fat tapenade in Sarah Leah Chase’s charming book The Bicycling Through Provence Cookbook, which features a recipe for olive-and-fig tapenade. I’ve increased the proportion of figs to olives and replaced most of the olive oil with vegetable stock.

Yield: Makes 2 cups, which will serve 8 to 10


  • 2 cups dried black mission figs (about 10 ounces)
  • ½ cup cognac
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
  • 2/3 cup pitted oil- or brine-cured olives, such as kalamata
  • 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed in warm water and patted dry
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toast points (see Notes) or slices of bread for serving


1. Stem and cut the figs crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Put them in a saucepan with the cognac and stock. Gently simmer 10 minutes, or until the figs are soft. Meanwhile, pit the olives.

2. Transfer the figs with a slotted spoon to a food processor, reserving the poaching liquid. Add the olives, anchovies, and capers, and process to a smooth paste. Add the mustard, lemon juice, and oil, and process to combine. With the motor running, add enough fig-poaching liquid (½, to 1 cup) to obtain a soft, spreadable puree. Correct the seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice: the tapenade should be highly seasoned.

3. Transfer the tapenade to a serving bowl and serve with the toast points or bread.


Pumpernickel Toast Point

½ package thinly sliced cocktail-type mini-loaves of pumpernickel bread (22 slices)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or spray oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut each pumpernickel slice on the diagonal and lightly brush each slice with oil on both sides or spray with spray oil.

2. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes per side. Transfer the toast points to a cooling rack.

Makes 44 toast points

95 Calories Per Serving; 3g Protein; 1.8g Fat; 0.3g Saturated Fat; 18g Carbohydrate; 193mg Sodium; 0mg Cholesterol

© 2003, 2010 Steven Raichlen

Nutritional Information

162 Calories; 2g Protein; 6.6g Fat; 0.9g Saturated Fat; 25g Carbohydrate; 588mg Sodium; 2mg Cholesterol


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