Acorn Tapenade

I came up with idea for acorn tapenade while trying to put together my pizza-themed autumn foraging class at the Laughing Coyote Project. By the time the end of October rolled around, even though the weather had been favorable, there wasn't much left to forage. I like the way coming up with a menu under tight restrictions forces me to be creative. After all, conceiving recipes that utilize foraged foods is my favorite activity.

Acorn certainly isn't a logical fit for tapenade, though you can certainly find recipes that use other nuts like piƱon or almonds. Here, they carry the bulk of the recipe, soaking up flavor from the other strong ingredients. If you have the acorns already on hand, this cuts the cost of making tapenade, which is usually made primarily of pricier ingredients like capers, anchovies, and olives.

Here, I've used "acorn crumbles," a coarser grind of acorns which have been leached and dried using the method described in my recipe for acorn falafel. Because I dry my acorn crumbles in the dehydrator in an already dry climate, so they end up very dry. Your acorn crumbles may be holding more moisture to begin with, so add the water called for in this recipe one tablespoon at a time.

If you don't have homemade wild capers, you can use 100% regular capers in the recipe. If you have leftover oil from your olives or anchovies, that can be used in place of the olive oil. If you'd like to make the recipe vegetarian, throw in a few extra capers and olives to replace the anchovies.

Acorn Tapenade

1 c. acorn crumbles
6 Tbsp. water
20 olives, any variety
2 Tbsp. homemade wild capers such as nasturtium, dandelion, or mallow cheese wheels
2 Tbsp. capers
8 anchovy strips
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil

1. In a medium bowl, add water to the acorn crumbles one tablespoon at a time until they seem to have the same moisture content you'd expect of almonds or peanuts.

2. In a small food processor, blend together the remaining ingredients until the form a paste. It needn't be completely smooth.

3. Dump the paste into the hydrated acorn crumbles, and stir them together until the tapenade is evenly combined. If it isn't shiny and loose enough, add another tablespoon of oil.

4. Stored in a mason jar in the refrigerator, this tapenade will keep for several weeks.

Thank you to Gelsey Malferrari, both for making her wonderful pizzas for the class, and for taking this picture.

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