Kitchen capersAugust 2, 2009
Regular visitors here will know that salt is one of my most particular friends. Hence a very close and loving relation to that friend is the humble caper, which surely must also be filed under essential ingredients.
The caper, I learn here, is the immature flower bud of the caper bush, Capparis spinosa. Either pickled in brine or preserved in salt, as you will all know very well, the caper is an essential zing thing for a great many dishes. I tend to go for the salted babies, although the briny version are just fine if you can’t get the salted ones. And I’ve just found this site about Australian capers, which are apparently even more intense in flavour than the imported ones, which can only be a good thing!
Capers seem to have some quite direct root into my memory, for some reason – must be the piquancy of that little flavour bomb that takes me instantly to a few great holiday food moments: a Rottnest Island picnic of sourdough slathered with creme fraiche, smoked salmon and capers with a squeeze of lemon; or a plate of roasted red pepper strips dotted with luscious capers in Greece … sigh.
Anyhoo, I was reminded of the caper today because I made again the Neil Perry zucchini ‘lasagne‘ that uses the classic combo (Sicilian, I think?) of capers, breadcrumbs, red onion, pine nuts and currants, which looked soo beautiful together I had to take this snap before assembly.
Another easypeasy bit of capery goodness I make regularly is a little dollop to accompany panfried or barbecued fish fillets – some good creamy yoghurt with lots of chopped capers, very finely chopped soft-leafed herbs (coriander, basil, parsley), a smidgin of honey and an anchovy or two.
Now your turn: what do you do with capers that I should know about?