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The Great Caper

May 11, 2010

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 overΒ  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 πŸ™‚

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Lauren permalink
    May 11, 2010 8:18 pm

    I love capers! One of my favorite dishes growing up was my dad’s lemon and caper chicken, served over egg noodles. Easy and very flavorful.

    But as your favorite editor, I have to point out that it’s tilapia, not talapia πŸ™‚

  2. May 11, 2010 8:36 pm

    I love capers!! This dish looks so lovely, your presentation is always so impressive!! πŸ™‚

  3. May 11, 2010 8:38 pm

    My Mom loves capers – and she would love this! It is very similar to a chicken dish she makes. The way you served it is beautiful too!

  4. May 11, 2010 9:39 pm

    Mmmmmm, YES! I’m with you– I LOVE capers!

  5. May 11, 2010 10:17 pm

    Mmmmm. Quite the delicious meal you cooked up! It looks absolutely fresh and filling, not to mention a really great meal to serve guests. I love the tang of capers, so refreshing. They do work so so well with fish- I want your mom’s delicious fish pie!! Sounded perfect to me!

    I have been reading your most recent posts and I have to say – you have been making such amazing things- from the eggplant roll ups to the egg salad to the simply delish guacamole and the cauliflower crust!! I’m so impressed and have clearly been missing out on the daily food porn since I’ve been caught up in the craze of moving! I’m so inspired by your creations and I now have a tasty arsenal of ideas for when I return to cooking!! I have missed you, my friend!! Love all that you do!

  6. May 12, 2010 3:54 am

    I love capers, but I’m never sure how to use them. I always enjoy restaurant meals with them. I’ll have to get adventurous and try them on my own.

  7. May 12, 2010 9:23 am

    I didn’t like capers and olives as a teen but I definitely do now! I guess my salty taste buds have been awakened. Sounds like a wonderfully easy and tasty fish dish, yum πŸ™‚

  8. May 12, 2010 10:07 am

    I made a very similar recipe from Real Simple that used orange juice and cherry tomatoes as well. The citrus from the OJ, the sweetness of the tomatoes, and the saltiness of the capers made a great combo!

  9. May 12, 2010 5:09 pm

    i often forget about the capers in my fridge, it’s a shame. and i need to buy more fish! i got a bunch of fresh frozen herbs that i love, especially for the ones I don’t use alot. but you’re right, they are more versatile than we think!

  10. May 12, 2010 8:39 pm

    I really like capers, too! And yes, a little goes a long way with all that flavor! My husband is ALWAYS saying, “Why don’t you just use dried herbs?!” Silly goose. Sooo not the same!!!

    • May 13, 2010 8:39 pm

      Soo not the same! I’m sure you have some fab ones in your garden πŸ™‚

  11. May 14, 2010 2:12 pm

    Salt and vinegar chips are my favorite too!

    Capers have grown on me – your post reminds me that I also have a jar from TJs to use up!

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