Deconstructed tapenade (With castelvetrano olives and french feta)

Deconstructed tapenade

Malcolm has standardized testing all week. These last few weeks he’s been working on essay composition. I decided to write this using the methods he’s been taught. Here we go…
“My goodness, look at those!” She cried, jumping back in surprise. [Narrative grabber] “Castelvetrano olives! I never thought I’d find them in a market so close to my home.” She bought as many as she could afford, and then her eye was caught by a creamy white cheese. “What’s that?” she queried. [Try not to use the words "said" or "asked"]
“Well,” responded the vendor, a short, pleasant woman with dark brown hair, [describe all the characters in detail], “It’s French feta cheese. Would you like a taste?”
It was the most delicious thing she’d ever eaten. [hyperbole] Creamy and juicy, with a nice salty edge, but much milder than Greek feta. She counted out her coins and bought a small slice.

There are several reasons I like castelvetrano olives. One is that they’re very pretty. They’re as green as serpents, as bright as spring grass, and as shiny as emeralds. [similes!] They taste so good, too. They’re have a very vegetable-y taste, they’re fresh and buttery and mildly salty. [List reasons and support with details and examples] I thought the feta would go very well with them, and as I drove home with little packets of each on the seat next to me, my mind whirred with the possibilities. I wanted to make a tapenade, but not purĂ©ed – I wanted to retain the taste and texture and pretty colors of the olives. I thought of all the things I could add. Tart cherries would add a touch of sweetness, chopped hazelnuts would add a bit of crunch, and tarragon and chervil would lend their intriguing lemon/anise zing. Plus they’re half of that band “Les fines herbes.” They’re the bassist and the drummer, I think.

To conclude, I love castelvetrano olives, and I was surprised to find them at a market near my home. I made them into a chunky sort of tapenade that had a lovely mix of flavors and textures. It was delicious on small toasted pieces of baguette. We ate every little bit, and I was tempted to lick the bowl! Who knows what we’ll have for dinner tonight? [The conclusion should restate what's already been said, in a slightly different way, but try to leave the reader wanting more with a takeaway ending.]

Here’s Chunky but Funky by Heavy D, to listen to while you chop olives for your chunky tapenade.

Note: You could make this with kalamata olives and greek feta. It would just be saltier and more assertive. Still plenty tasty, though!

1 cup castelvetrano olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup tart dried cherries, chopped
2 t capers, chopped
1 t chervil, chopped
1 t tarragon, chopped
drizzle of olive oil
dash of balsamic
lots of freshly ground black pepper

Basically, you just chop everything and mix it together!! Serve with chips, or toasts, or fresh bread, or any other way you like

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7 thoughts on “Deconstructed tapenade (With castelvetrano olives and french feta)

  1. I’m pretty sure that if you’re taking a standardized test, you’re supposed to include a talking pineapple in the story!

    • D’oh! I forgot the talking pineapple! I’ll be sure to remind Malcolm to include one in every single essay he writes for the rest of the week!

  2. Hi Claire,
    I loved reading this – it made me smile! It shows just how crazy our ‘writing rules’ can sometimes be.
    I came across your blog because of a comment you posted on The Guardian website (about potato salad, I think) and I’m now an avid reader. I’ve tried a couple of your recipes and they’ve been very successful with my family (vegetarian sausages were wolfed down!). I’m just writing down the ingredients needed for this tapenade as it’s definitely going to be part of dinner tonight…
    Cheers,
    Jane

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! Made my day.

      It’s funny about the writing – I know he needs structure, and I want to help him understand what they’re teaching, but doesn’t it seem lazy just to conclude by saying what you’ve already said? Oh well.

  3. Pingback: Spring herbs & greens tart | Out of the Ordinary

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