Tapenade is Provence in an easily portable form. Take all the great Provencal ingredients: olives, basil, lemon, capers, anchovies, and grind them into a paste. Voila! Tapenade! In Provence, it is a universal topping. It is at its best spread on slices of french bread. You could toast the bread (over an open fire) if you really wanted to gild the lily. Goat cheese is a natural accompaniment. Tapenade is also a great topping for pork, chicken, and especially lamb. Lamb and tapenade is a match made in heaven.
And now, my personal re-enactment of Field of Dreams...
Is this heaven?
No, It's Provence.
Provence? When I saw the tapenade, I could have sworn this was heaven.
Now this is not fancy French cuisine. It is not served in four star white tablecloth restaurants by hovering waiters. This is a recipe from the home, best served as a bite before dinner. It will help fill the stomach while sipping on an ice cold, bone dry Rose, or a chewy Cote Du Rhone.
In other words, it is the Provencal equivalent of Salsa. Which is how I use it, and also how I make it. I can't imagine making this recipe without a food processor; with one, it is ready to go in ten minutes, and that's if I'm stopping to take a bunch of pictures for the blog while I'm making it.