(Pictured: Confit de canard–duck cooked in its own fat. That is not light. And after one too many plates of those, I was dying for something light and bright…) 

Looking back through my photos of Paris–97 food-related, 2 of Notre Dame, 1 of the Louvre–I see that my hankering for duck fat and French wine rendered a Girls’ Getaway into a 5-day Gourmet Girls Gone Wild voyage.

Silky ribbons of house-made charcuterie and slabs terrine sustained me and my girlfriend at lunch, macarons punctuated our afternoons and dinner was a throw-your-hands-in-the-air affair of duck fat, potatoes, more duck fat and a rotating cast of chocolate profiteroles, baked cream millefeuilles and Grand Marnier soufflés.

But one of my most delightful bites in Paris wasn’t soaked in duck fat or covered in almond cream–it was a heady taste of Provencal spring.  At the Salon de l’Agriculture–or the Paris County Fair, as I like to call it–a family of oliviers had set up shop to give the city folk a taste of the South. Particularly, they wanted to share their extraordinary tapenades (olive purees) that showcased other local, Provencal ingredients like figs, red peppers and raspberries. My favorite nouveau tapenade combined the earthiness of the local olives with the sweet of ripe, red raspberries.

“This I could do at home.”

For a taste of my last trip to Paris–and to remind me that spring is right around the corner–I created my own raspberry tapenade. It’s the perfect nibble piled high inside leaves of endive or hearts of romaine or simply enjoyed on rounds of toasted baguette and served with a cold glass of Provencal rose.
Raspberry Tapenade

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 ¼ cup Nicoise or Kalamata olives, pitted, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons very good olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Pinch Kosher salt
  • 3 twists freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil.

Bake raspberries for one hour or until they are shriveled, darker in color and have released the majority of their moisture.

In a Cuisinart, add olives, parsley and raspberries. Pulse until a coarse mixture is formed. Stream in the olive oil and continue pulsing until the mixture is a bit smoother. (Note–you do not want your tapenade to look like cake batter! It should be slightly chunky!) Add vinegar, salt and pepper and pulse one last time.

Remove to a bowl and serve immediately. Keeps refrigerated for one week.

One of my most delightful bites in Paris wasn’t soaked in duck fat or covered in almond cream–it was a heady taste of Provencal spring.