Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mediterranean tapenade

mediterranean tepenade atop crusty bread
Do you ever purchase a prepared delectable edible at your local grocery store and wonder if you can cook it up yourself (and save some cash monies simultaneously)? There's this tantalizingly tasty olive tapenade at Trader Joe's the Mister favors. When he first stumbled upon it, he thought it was called "teppin" (It was so endearing. I might have let him call it that for a while.) and kept raving about it. We now habitually toss a container of it in our shopping cart when we're there, and it tends to disappear into our stomachs before the week's end. Once we commence buying pre-prepped goodies consistently however, I think to myself, I wonder if I could make it! So I conducted some research (if Wikipedia suffices) and ascertained that tapenade usually comprises of olives, olive oil, capers, and anchovies. One evening whilst contemplating what to stuff some chicken breasts with to conceive stuffed chicken per the Mister's request, I hatched up a version of Mediterranean meets tapenade stuffing for the chicken, which fortuitously also served as an appetizing appetizer for crusty bread. I compiled all of our favorite Mediteranean-esque ingredients, and voilĂ  - a truly tasty "teppin" has emerged! The tapenade's zesty ferocity teleports me back to my sublime summer holiday in Nice. Try it and judge for yourself if it is worthy of Provence!
mediterranean tepenade atop crusty bread
Mediterranean "Teppin" (Tapenade)
Ingredients:
1/2 onion
1 cup white button mushrooms
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp pesto
4 tsp garlic, minced
Fat-free crumbled Feta cheese (optional)

Directions:
1.  Mince the onion, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the minced onions, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. The oil from the sun-dried tomatoes negates the need to add more oil.
2. Once the veggies turn golden brown, add the olives, capers, pesto, and garlic. Stir for another minute or so to marry all of the flavors together.
3. Serve warm atop crusty bread or toasted pita. Sprinkle Feta on top and take a huge bite. Mmm, it's like you're transported to the south of France, or even southern Greece!

Note: Be a dash more daring and utilize the tapenade as a stuffing for Mediterranean chicken breasts per below. We consumed this one eveningtide with a side of the yummiest squash ever (upon which I shall expound on later). The Mister and I grant it all thumbs up!
mediterranean stuffed chicken breasts
mediterranean stuffed chicken breasts
Mediterranean-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
Mediterranean tapenade (per recipe above)
Fat-free crumbled Feta cheese
Grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning
Garlic salt
Pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
2. Slice each chicken breast lengthwise to create two flaps into which you shall stuff the tapenade. Take care not to cut all the way. Your chicken breasts should open up like a book.
3. Sprinkle each chicken breast with Italian seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet.
4. Spoon Mediterranean tapenade into each chicken breast pocket. Top with Feta and Parmesan. Close the chicken breast.
5. Bake for 25 minutes until cooked and moist from the tasty tapenade stuffing. Enjoy with more pesto on top!

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