The summer months are buzzing with activity around here. We have friends or family over several times a week, the kids running around the yard, the men on the deck or in the garage. I have an open-door policy, literally. I love to open all the doors so that people can drift in and out, from one yard to another, like waves on the shore. On days when I entertain but can’t bring myself to turn on the oven (the house is hot enough with all the doors open!), instead of cooking a big meal, I will set out a generous charcuterie board overflowing with an assortment of meats, cheeses, marinated olives, cherry tomatoes, cornichons, grapes, nuts, crackers and slices of baguette, and let everyone help themselves.
Spreads and tapenades like this one, made with white beans and green olives, are great on their own with a bit of toasted bread, but on a charcuterie board they become part of a no-fuss, no-cook, summertime meal for a crowd. Accompanied by glasses of very cold Rosé, of course.
Cannellini Bean Tapenade
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup ripe green (or black) olives (choose one that is buttery, without a bitter taste)
1 TBSP capers, drained
2 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 clove garlic, pressed in a garlic press
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, olives, capers, parsley, oregano, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pulse once or twice to roughly chop the ingredients. Stream in the olive oil, pulsing a few more times to combine. The mixture should be coarse, not finely chopped. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.