A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of going to Carmel and stayed at the quaintest vineyard. It was there that I fell in love with California. I loved the simple and fresh cuisine that they served at each meal. Nothing was out of season. Everything was served fresh, with vibrant flavors and colors bouncing from the plate.
One of my favorites to pair with wine is my Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Tapenade. This one dish has all of the flavors I love – the tart briny bite of olives combined with the freshness of rosemary and the buttery sweetness of roasted garlic makes my taste buds do a happy dance! If I could bottle California, I would make it a tapenade. My White Bean Spread makes a perfect complement to the strong flavors of the tapenade. Think of the dishes as a “good angel/bad angel” flavor profile. One is strong and distinct, while the cannellini beans make for a creamier, more delicate dish. Of course, a cheese and fruit tray – complete with dried figs, dried apricots, fresh grapes, almonds and prosciutto – is great for snacking, too.
Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Tapenade
1 whole head garlic, roasted and cooled
1 c Kalamata olives, drained and chopped
1 T freshly chopped rosemary
1 T capers, drained
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t freshly ground pepper
3/4 c olive oil
1/2 t red wine
1 loaf fresh bread, sliced and toasted for crostini
In the bowl of a food processor combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil, red wine and bread. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and red wine. Serve in a small bowl to spread on crostini.
White Bean Spread
2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 t coarse sea salt (Fleur de sel)
2 cloves roasted garlic
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 freshly squeezed lemon
Zest of one lemon
1 T flat leaf parsley
1 T fresh rosemary
1 T fresh thyme
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
In the bowl of a food processor combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil. Pulse until it is well combined. While food processor is on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture becomes creamy. Serve in a small bowl and top with freshly chopped thyme alongside fresh pita chips for dipping.