Condiment Spotlight: Green Olive Tapenade (with Oven Roasted Salmon)

The Green Olive Tapenade is a keeper.

Green Olive Tapenade Topping on Roasted Salmon

I’ll be honest. The real star of this salmon dish is the green olive and almond tapenade. No offense to the salmon, which is sublime as always and a no-fail simple, healthy meal. But, frankly, it’s the tapenade I want to talk about: it’s positively addictive with a briny brightness that complements the buttery rich salmon. It’s also versatile. Not only is the tapenade a worthy accompaniment to grilled fish (halibut is also a good contender), it’s a great stand-alone starter spooned on crostini or sprinkled over pizzas, pasta, and grains. The good news is that this recipe makes a generous amount of tapenade, so you can refrigerate the leftovers. Then you will have extra to smear on a slice of bread or swipe a carrot stick through. You might even find yourself eating it straight up from a bowl with a spoon. I’m speaking from experience.

Recipe: Roasted Salmon with Green Olive Tapenade

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: about 40 minutes
Serves 4; Makes about 1 1/2 cups tapenade

8 ounces pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano or a mixture of green olives
1 ounce raw almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
1 anchovy, drained
1 large garlic clove
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets, pin bones removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Make the tapenade: Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process to a coarse paste, without letting it get mushy. (The tapenade may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.)
2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the salmon in one layer in a roasting pan, skin side down. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and the lemon juice. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until the salmon is just cooked to your desired doneness, about 25 minutes for medium, depending on the thickness of the filets.
3. Transfer to serving plates and top each filet with about 2 tablespoons of the tapenade. Serve with a lemon wedge.

5 thoughts on “Condiment Spotlight: Green Olive Tapenade (with Oven Roasted Salmon)

  1. I am absolutely sure it is the star of this show…

    the other day I made a sourdough bread and included green olives in addition to the regular kalamatas that are mandatory… I have to say the green olives brought something so unique to the bread, I do think they are under-appreciated

    saving this for soon!

  2. This olive tapenade sounds so good but be careful with the swordfish recommendation when suggesting fish. Sadly it’s another one of our fisheries in trouble as it’s either been overfished in some oceans or has been caught with longlines that kill all kinds of other marine creatures in the process.
    The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a wonderful program called the Seafood Watch that helps consumers and businesses choose seafood that’s sustainably caught or farmed…to keep our oceans healthy. You can download their Guides even for your particular region. 🙂

  3. Sure! Btw…if you are ever near Monterey, a visit to the Aquarium is a must see! It is just fabulous and is housed right on Cannery Row, so you can also see and hear about the history of the sardine industry on the West coast.
    Now, I must get busy and make this olive tapenade of yours! 🙂

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