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.

Marion
Dairy Diary Team

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