Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sun-dried Tomato & Walnut Tapenade

Let me start off by saying: THIS TAPENADE IS GREAT ON EVERYTHING.  The recipe is from Gena Hamshaw, a certified clinical nutritionist.  Her website is, where she shares her recipes for a healthier life by eating more plant-based foodsHer main focus is digestive health which she believes you can attain through a raw and vegan diet.  That said, I'm a flexitarian; I dabble in it all.
This recipe was a topping for Polenta Squares to be served as an appetizer for a large group.  Most polenta recipes are similar: broth, water or milk, cornmeal, salt & pepper and maybe some fresh corn or herbs, so use your favorite recipe for making the polenta.  The real star here is the Tapenade.  It makes about 1 1/2 Cups and keeps in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Tapenade
3/4 C sun-dried tomatoes (not oil soaked)
2 C water
2/3 C walnuts
2 small cloves garlic
2 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
1 Tb fresh Rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

Note: I've made this several times, and use sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil.  Then I drizzle a lesser amount of extra virgin olive oil into the processor at the end. This really comes together quickly, not having to do the boiling and soaking.
Boil the water and pour it over the tomatoes.  Allow them to soften for 20 minutes.  Discard most of the water (keep a half cup in case you need to thin the tapenade).
Grind the walnuts in a food processor fitted with the S blade until they're finely ground.  Add the tomatoes and garlic, and pulse to combine.  Add the lemon, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Run the motor of the food processor and drizzle in the oil in a thin stream.  If the mixture is still very thick, drizzle in some of the soak water from the tomatoes until it reaches the desired consistency.  You're aiming for the consistency of regular tapenade, or a thick pesto.
After your polenta is chilled, cut it into small squares or triangles, you can even use a small cookie cutter if you want to get fancy.  Place the polenta pieces on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and brush the tops of the polenta as well.  Broil for 8-10 minutes or until they are slightly toasted.  Remove from the oven and top each with a dollop of tapenade.  I usually top that with olive slices or pine nuts.  Another reason to love this appetizer, both the polenta and tapenade can be made ahead of time.  Just before serving, simply broil and assemble.
My in-house taste tester claimed "This is delicious."


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