Here's How To Use That Jar Of Capers Lurking In Your Fridge
Capers are hands-down one of my favourite things to have in my kitchen arsenal. The briny, saline flavour bombs go perfect in so many dishes, and add that salty finish your recipe craves.
But what exactly are those little green pods? Here’s everything you need to know.
What are capers?
Capers are pickled, flower buds of the Mediterranean Capparis shrub. They can range in size, from the size of an olive, all the way down to the tiny, pea-sized capers most of us are familiar with.
What do capers taste like?
If you’re a fan of olives, the tart, briny nature of a caper will be pretty familiar. Thanks to the brine capers pack a really savoury, salty punch.
How do you cook with capers?
Capers are quite delicate therefore, when using them in cooking you usually throw them in towards the end. Or use them in cold, dishes where they can shine bright, or blitzed into a delicious, salty sauce.
Are capers fish?
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this, but no, capers aren’t fish. However, they do pair nicely with fish, and their salty, umami flavour is reminiscent of anchovies.
Substitutes for capers:
Capers are widely available in the jarred aisle of your local supermarket, but if you really cant find them, chopped green olives will do the trick.
Recipes using capers:
A zingy salad dressing
If you’re wanting to rustle up a quick and easy salad dressing, capers can add a saline crunch. Aim for 1 part acid to 3 parts oil, with your fave seasoning and a smidge of binding agent (e.g. mustard) and chuck in a few capers for good measure.
Roast sea bass
Capers lend themselves perfectly to Mediterranean-style cooking and fish so a med-style sea bass would work perfectly. Throw some capers in a roasting tray with some sea bass, parboiled potatoes, oil, salt, pepper, cherry tomatoes and lemon wedges, and cook for about 15-20 minutes before serving family-style.
Smoked salmon pasta
Capers lend themselves well to creamy pasta dishes that require a little added flavour boost and this smoked salmon pasta is one of our faves. Folding them into a creamy pasta sauce with some smoked salmon and dill is the perfect midweek meal.
This theory works the same for smoked salmon bagels (chopped capers work nicely with cream cheese), and also tuna pasta salads with mayonnaise.
Cooking capers alongside, butter, garlic, white wine, and lemon juice makes a really simple and delicious sauce for chicken piccata.
Other ways to use capers in cooking:
Throw into salads
Mix into potato salad
Cook with roasted veggies
Use as a pizza topping
Fry them to top a simple fish dish
Swap out anchovies for them in a veggie-friendly Caesar salad
Blend them with herbs to make a green sauce
Add them to smoked salmon brunch boards
Serve them as a condiment with any cold fish dish like crab, or prawns