Fig and Olive Tapenade
Makes about one cup
Adapted from The Sweet Life in ParisIf using a mortar and pestle, I find it easier to hand chop the olives a bit first before giving them a good pounding.
1/2 cup (about 3 ounces, 90g) stemmed and quartered dried black figs (use dried Black Mission figs, if available)
3/4 cup (180ml) water
1 cup (about 150g) black olives; Niçoise, Nyons, or Greek, rinsed and pitted
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons whole-grain or Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
1/2 cup (150ml) extra-virgin olive oil
black pepper and salt, if necessary
1. In a medium-sized saucepan, simmer the figs in the water for about 30 minutes, until very tender. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the liquid.
2. If using a food processor, pulse the pitted olives, drained figs, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, capers, and fresh rosemary or thyme to create a thick paste. Pulse in the olive oil until you’ve achieved a chunky-smooth paste. Season with black pepper and salt, if necessary. (The spread can be thinned with a bit of the reserved fig poaching liquid.)
3. If using a mortar and pestle, mash the olives with the mustard, garlic, capers, and fresh rosemary or thyme. Pound in the drained figs. Once they are broken up, add in the lemon juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and fig juice, if necessary.

Serve tapenade with slices of baguette or pita triangles that have been lightly brushed with olive oil and perhaps sprinkled with salt and fresh thyme, or a dusting of chili powder, then toasted on a baking sheet in the oven until nice and crisp.

Note: A tip from Carrie is to make this tapenade at least one day before you intend to serve it, which allows the flavors to meld and develop.