Daily Archives: 16 May 2011

The Great Caper

Someone’s given me a huge jar of capers, those little green ‘berries’, which are not an ingredient I reach for very often.

CapersAs far as I know, they’re usually sprinkled on pizzas and in sauces for fish, although I do remember using them once in a veggie dish with aubergine, onions, celery, green olives and tomatoes – caponata, a bit like a Sicilian version of the French ratatouille but without courgettes and peppers.

Try this Skate with Capers recipe taken from Just One Pot. It’s easy to prepare, very quick, tastes wonderful and is pretty healthy!

Actually, you don’t see either caponata or ratatouille very much any more, do you? I wonder why. They’re both delicious on their own, and go with meat or pasta. Perhaps they’re just known by another name.

I was also wondering what capers actually are so I looked online and it turns out they’re the unopened flower buds of Capparis spinosa, which is a prickly Mediterranean plant, and they’ve been used in cooking for thousands of years.

So I’ll have to start getting inventive. One thing I read is that if you soak them in water for a few minutes, that gets rid of the very salty, vinegary taste. So I tried that, and it does, and then you can include them with anything – they’re quite nice mixed with baked beans and can liven up a salad.

Don’t try this at home!
After getting through this lot, we’ll either be heartily sick of them or hooked. Don’t think I’ll be trying to grow my own, though. Apparently, it’s easy to confuse them with another plant, caper spurge, which has similar flower buds, except they’re poisonous.

All the best.

Dairy Diary Team

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Skate with Capers

Capers and vinegar perfectly complement the taste of skate.

Skate with CapersPreparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 15 minutes
Calories per portion 593 Kcal
Fat per portion 46g of which saturated 28.8g
Serves 2

Plain flour 2 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Skate wings 2 small or 1 large, halved
Butter 110g (4oz)
White wine vinegar 2 tbsp
Capers 2 tbsp, rinsed well and drained
Chopped parsley
Lemon wedges

1 Tip the flour onto a plate and season it with salt and pepper. Pat the skate dry and dust both sides with the seasoned flour.

2 Heat half the butter in a large frying pan and cook the skate for 4–5 minutes on each side.

3 Remove the wings from the pan and keep them warm while making the butter sauce. Add the remaining butter to the pan and heat until it foams and starts to turn to a rich golden brown colour, then pour the vinegar into the pan and add the capers and parsley. Season the sauce to taste.

4 Place the cooked skate on plates and spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a lemon wedge and a refreshing salsa salad (see Just One Pot recipe).

Cook’s Tip
If your frying pan isn’t large enough to cook both skate wings at the same time, then cook them individually rather than having them overlapping in the pan.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot.

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