Tapanade is made all over the south of France, but in Cuisine Nicoise, which is the specialty cuisine of the area around Nice, it is a bit different. This is the version that I use when making these little toasts as hors d'oeuvres or for a light lunch with a glass of wine. Although I used to use the small red rougets fish available there, any firm flesh fish will work.
This is what the finished dish looks like, and the recipe follows!
1 loaf of white bread, sliced into 1/2 inch slices, then sliced again into rectangles, with the crusts removed
1 lb. of black olives (can be canned, kalamata, or oil cured)
3 anchovy filets
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 fresh Basil leaves
2 fresh Basil leaves, julienned, for garnish
2 heaping tablespoons of capers
good olive oil, cracked pepper
1 lb. firm flesh fish filets (pollack, haddock or cod work)
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
1. First, make the tapanade. In a food processor, put the olives, garlic, anchovies, 3 Basil leaves, and capers and chop very finely. Then with the processor still running, slowly drip in good olive oil until the mixture forms and smooth paste and add cracked pepper to your taste.
2. With a very sharp knife, slice the fish filets into long pieces that look as if they will nicely fit on top of your bread rectangles. Gently saute them in good olive oil until just done. Reserve.
3. Place the bread rectangles on a pan in the 400 degree oven and watch until they just turn golden brown then take out and reserve.
4. Assemble. Spread each rectangle of toast with the tapanade and then top with a piece of fish and place all on a platter. Scatter the julienned Basil for decoration and serve with a glass of wine.