1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) stemmed & quartered, dried Black Mission figs
3/4 cups water
1 cup black olives; Nicoise, Lyon, or Greek, rinsed and pitted
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
1 small garlic clove, peeled
1/2 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
black pepper and salt, if necessary
In a medium-sized saucepan, simmer the figs in the water for about 30 minutes, until very tender. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the liquid.
If using a food processor, pulse the pitted olives, drained figs, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, capers, and fresh rosemary to create a thick paste. Pulse in the olive oil until you’ve achieved a chunky-smooth paste. Season with black pepper and salt, if necessary. (The spread can be thinned with a bit of the reserved fig poaching liquid.)
If using a mortar and pestle, mash the olives with the garlic, capers, and fresh rosemary. Pound in the drained figs (I like the way that sounds!). Once they are broken up, add the olive oil and season with black pepper, fig poaching liquid, and salt, if necessary.
Serve this tapenade with slices of baguette that have been lightly brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven, or smear a layer of it on a sandwich with goat cheese, juicy-ripe summer tomatoes, and lightly dressed arugola.
Make one day ahead, if possible.
From David Lebovitz.