Friday, February 29, 2008

Money Where Your Mouth Is: Capers

Although they are tiny, capers pack quite a punch in the flavor department and in my opinion, are the best green food you're not using enough.

Capers are native to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions of the world and are the immature bud off of a small bush. Fresh caper blossoms are not very flavorful which is why they are typically sun dried and brined in vinegar. Once cured, their sharpness of flavor adds a distinct and welcome addition to many dishes.

Here's a random fact for you (in case you ever find yourself on Jeopardy!) Capers were once used as informal currency among merchants traveling ancient trade routes.


Though my favorite way to eat capers is in light white wine and lemon sauce, Puttanesca is a close second. It's not often made by the home cook and quite frankly, it should be. This is a simple recipe that will wow your guests-just make sure you have an extra loaf of crusty bread to sop up the extra sauce!

PUTTANESCA SAUCE
1/4 C. Olive Oil
1 C. Onion, finely minced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Cans Plum Tomatoes, 28 oz each
1 C. Kalamata Olives, pitted and cut in half
2 T. Tomato Paste
3 T. Capers, drained
2 T. Anchovy Fillets, minced (about 8 fillets)
1/2 t. Dried Basil
1/2 t. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt TT
1 # Penne Pasta

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion & saute until soft & light brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the pasta) and simmer for 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning, to taste.
3. Add the cooked penne to the sauce and toss for 1 minute

2 comments:

Mo said...

My grandmother (the one I went to Egypt with) once made a home-made tartar sauce for some grilled tuna steaks that had capers in it --- to die for!

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