Serious Eats: Recipes

Tempura Green Beans with Tapendade Dip from 'Salty Snacks'

[Photograph: Jennifer Martiné]

Tempura fried vegetables dipped in tapenade dip make for an utterly unique nibble in Cynthia Nims's Salty Snacks. To those used to dipping tempura in soy sauce and spreading tapenade on crackers, it may sound off-putting, but the two make better bedfellows than one might expect. In fact, the briny olive-caper-anchovy mixture is a perfect counterpoint to fried food, and the light grassiness of the beans takes well to delicate tempura batter. Still, you'll want a couple of small utensils on hand to help with serving, as the dip doesn't always adhere well to the beans (a quick smear with a butter knife or spoon solves the problem).

Why I picked this recipe: I'd never before seen tempura and tapenade together in one dish, so I was curious to try this unique snack.

What worked: The tapenade came together easily, and the frying went off without a hitch. Each bean had a delicate crunchy golden coating outside while remaining crisp-tender beneath.

What didn't: I had a hard time actually dipping the beans into the dip (most of the tapenade just slid right off). But when I smeared on the spread, I was greeted with a delightfully briny mouthful.

Suggested tweaks: Next time, I'd try blending the olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic to a smooth puree before adding the lemon and olive oil in hopes of forming a more dippable dip.

Reprinted with permission from Salty Snacks by Cynthia Nims. Copyright 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

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