My family is a foodie family, my dad loves to talk about how my grandfather was before his time with regards to food. He made quiche before it was trendy, he cooked with jicama decades ago and I was in college before I even heard of it, and he is just one in a long chain of food loving family members, so needless to say we like Thanksgiving, a holiday all about the food. And giving thanks of course. This year my sister and I were assigned to bring the appetizers, and on a day all about the main course, and with a gluten free requirement, it can be a bit tricky to hit on the right recipe to kick the meal off. We settled on baked brie with cranberries, which my sister was in charge of, and this fig and kalamata olive tapenade. Both dishes are just as tasty spread on nut thins or rice crackers as they are on rounds of bread, and both have a delicious salty and sweet combination. Sweet and salty has been a bit of a fad at my house lately; it all started with a batch of brownies that had a pretzel crust and now there is ice cream with pretzel chunks in it in the freezer, who knows where this will end. Originally I was going to make the walnut crackers featured with the tapenade recipe, but as my aunt said, no need to go crazy, and quite honestly, for once I am glad I didn't go crazy. This recipe has the added bonus of being insanely easy, all you need is a food processor and it practically makes itself and can be made ahead of time.
Start by tossing a cup of dried figs in the food processor. I honestly don't know anything about figs and have never cooked with them before (if this can be called cooking...) but there are several types of dried figs, I used mission figs and apparently that was good choice as wikipedia tells me that they are "considered one of the highest quality figs that can be grown in USDA zones 9 and up in the United States."
Whiz the figs up until they are chopped then add the water to make it a paste.
Add the olives, vinegar (I used a splash more vinegar than called for, it needed a bit more acidity), olive oil and a bit of thyme (I used dry instead of fresh) and whiz again.
Serve with crackers or bread. The full recipe can be found here.