The nut does not reveal the tree it contains.
~Egyptian Proverb

Tapenade, that luscious Provençal olive spread, takes on a nutty tinge by adding roasted pistachios.

Even though the base ingredient is olives, the word, tapenade, actually derives from the Occitan word for capers, tapèno. Hark back. Those delectable caper buds were once preserved in amphoras, graceful, long-necked and two-handled ceramic vases, brimming with olive oil. Over time, the tapèno would meld together to form a paste which became the precusor of modern tapenade.

Tapenade can be prepared using a mortar and pestle or a food processor fitted with a metal blade. It is exquisitely versatile: breads, pizzas, paninis, pastas, potatoes, eggs, poultry, meats, fish, and so on. Tightly sealed, it keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

GRILLED VEAL CHOPS WITH PISTACHIO & GREEN OLIVE TAPENADE

4 – 1 3/4″ thick bone-in veal loin chops
Herbes de Provence
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh rosemary sprigs

1 C pistachios, shelled, roasted and coarsely chopped
1 C pitted green Lucques or Picholines olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
3 T capers, rinsed and dried
2 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and chopped
1 high quality anchovy fillets, rinsed, dried and chopped
2 t Dijon mustard
2 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 T fresh parsley leaves, chopped

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

Tapenade
If the anchovy is salt packed, let it stand in a bowl of milk for 15 minutes to exude the salt. Then, drain and pat dry thoroughly.

Combine the pistachios, olives, capers, garlic, anchovy, mustard, and herbs in a food processor and purée by pulsing. With the processor running, add enough olive oil in a slow, steady stream until thoroughly incorporated and a thick, spreadable paste forms. Add the lemon zest, season with pepper, stir well and then let the tapenade to stand for an hour or so to allow the flavors to wed.

Lightly season the veal chops with pepper and herbes de Provence. Then, spread half the tapenade over the veal chops, cover and refrigerate for several hours. Reserve the remaining tapenade.

Veal Chops
Remove veal chops from the refrigerator. Prepare the grill for direct medium high heat. The grill is ready when pain demands you retract an open hand held about three inches above the hot grate with spread coals within 3 seconds. Before grilling, veal chops should be nearing room temperature.

Drop rosemary sprigs into the hot coals to impart aroma to the meat. Grill the veal chops for 5-7 minutes or so on each side for medium rare. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the veal chops and the heat of the grill. The meat should be firm and only gently yielding to a finger. Remove the chops from grill and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. Then plate the chops, topping each with a generous spoonful of the reserved tapenade.

Something so statuesque as a veal chop should be served atop a frog prince, puréed celeriac.

Advertisements