The Great Caper
Without any relation to stories of crime and intrigue, the caper I refer to is small in size and big on flavor. I love anything salty, vinegary, and big on taste, (yes, my chip of choice is Salt and Vinegar, call me weird!) so these little pickled flower buds (!) are right up my alley. If I see capers on a restaurant menu I automatically know I will love the dish, usually Mediterranean style, perhaps with some fresh herbs, olives, and tomatoes…my mouth is watering already.
I have been eating capers for practically my whole life, most memorably in my Mom’s fish pie (sounds weird, tastes delicious). I would bite into the creamy sauce, white fish and mashed potatoes, and sometimes was lucky enough to crunch into a caper. The flavor explosion is what made the dish so awesome! Since then I’ve always related capers to fish but, over the past few months of hunting and gathering recipes, capers seem to star in a huge variety of summer dishes. So I went to Trader Joe’s and bought myself a jar (<3 TJs). And not just because I also realized that capers could be a fabulous substitute for olives in a martini. True story.
On a different note, for a long time I thought it was a complete waste of money to spend $1.50 on a huge bunch of fresh herbs just for a few sprigs added to a meal. Dried jars were cheaper, lasted longer, and wouldn’t start to go brown and gooey in the back of the fridge. But as my meal planning has improved, so has my use of parsley, dill, and cilantro. I now use them in multiple meals a week and even wish I had more. Fresh herbs can go with anything, even if a recipe doesn’t call for it they bring a freshness to each and every dish. And guess what? They are fantastic with capers too.
This herb and caper sauce is tangy and fresh, like a pesto but lemony and deconstructed. Perfect for a light, white fish and a contrasting earthy brown rice.
Parsley and Caper Sauce with Tilapia (adapted from Nigella Lawson)
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
2 fillets of tilapia
Brown rice and green beans to serve.
Preheat the oven to 375*. Put the brown rice on to cook according to instructions.
In a small bowl, mix the capers, parsley, lemon, oil, and oregano. Mix together and let sit for 15 – 30 minutes, for the flavors to absorb.
Spray a baking pan with a little Pam and lay the tilapia fillets on it. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top and bake for 25 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Steam green beans in a little water until al dente, then drain and sprinkle with some salt.
Serve the fish atop hot brown rice and fresh steamed green beans and pour the caper dressing over the top.
Quick and easy, plus the sauce would be good on almost anything. I highly recommend doubling it and using the leftovers on your lunch the next day. We all know your salad could use some jazzing up 🙂