Capers are popular ingredients in Middle Eastern, North African, and Mediterranean cuisines. You will find it especially in Italian and Sicilian cooking. They have a tangy (some say slightly lemony) and salty flavor. So they’re often added to give a dish that something extra. Whether you use them dried or brined, they’re packed with flavor, and could be just the ingredient you need to add a bit of zing!
Because they have a strong taste, capers can overpower a dish. Make sure to add them sparingly. When you buy a jar of capers form the store, they’re ready to use and there’s no need to cook them first. You can therefore add them anytime during the cooking process, or add them as a finishing touch.
We cannot write an article about capers and NOT say something about chicken piccata. This is the quintessential caper dish. It consists of tenderly cooked chicken breast drenched in a lemony pepper sauce with wine and caper berries. Some recipes are better than others, because you need to find the exact balance with the wine, lemon, and capers, without being too overpowering. Try out our Chicken Piccata recipe here.
Salads can become boring at times. Even with an endless list of potential ingredients, sometimes you’re just stuck when it comes to flavor. How do you take your green salad from blah to brilliant? You add capers! Just a small amount (about one tablespoon) of capers are all you need to give your salad a pop of color and a bit of tang. They also make a great substitute for anchovies, for those who are vegan, or don’t like the fishy taste.
Capers in soup? You bet ya! They make a great add-on for creamy soups. Creamy soups are often heavy and bland because of the high amount of fat used. Capers are a creative way to break the fatty taste, while also adding salty flavor. Next time you’re making a cream of mushroom or butternut soup, add a few teaspoons of capers. Your tastebuds will be amazed!
We all like different things on our eggs. Some purists like plain baked eggs with salt and pepper, some add hot sauce or sriracha, while others even like kimchi. But next time you’re left with a half-full jar of capers, try adding some to your eggs. You can sprinkle them over baked eggs, or add them to the scrambled egg mixture before cooking.
Because of their tart, lemony flavor, capers are extremely suited for fish and other seafood. Try the capers on salmon (raw or cooked) or broiled mahi mahi. For a real Mediterranean dish, you can even add the capers to a tomato-based fish casserole. For a quick lunch option, spread bruschetta with a mixture of capers, sundried tomatoes, olives and cream cheese. Serves with grilled prawns and a squeeze of lime.
We love fusion foods! It’s basically the coming together of your favorite cuisines from around the world. In this case, you can combine Mexican and Mediterranean. Add the capers to your pico de gallo, fruit salsa, or salsa verde. Or you can make your favorite nacho or fajita recipe, but finish it off with a sprinkle of capers. As with traditional lime juice, it will add just the right amount of tang to lift all the Mexican flavors.
As with salads, there is an endless list of ingredients you can add to your sandwiches. But capers can easily be added to that list. If you are left with a half-full jar of capers that you don’t know what to do with, add it to sandwiches. It adds some acidity to the sandwich, and goes especially well with mayonnaise-based or avocado spreads.
Is there anything you CAN’T add to a pasta? We’re not sure. It depends who you ask, really. Capers can do pretty much the same that a squeeze of lemon does to most dishes. For tomato-based dishes, they bring out the natural savory flavor. In cream-based pastas, they break the richness with a little acidity. Remember to leave out the lemon if you add capers, otherwise the dish will be too sour.
Salty ingredients are extremely popular on pizza. Most of us love pepperoni, olives, or parmesan on our pizzas. But anchovies, are not so popular. While they are quite salty, the fishiness can be a put off for some, and if you’re vegan, you have to forego all these salty favorites. Luckily, capers are the perfect addition to a pizza of you’re looking for a burst of salty flavor!
Capers can also be added to a caponata. Caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish. It’s usually served at room temperature, as a salad, side dish, or even a relish. It's most often served at room temperature. As an appetizer, you can serve fresh toasted bread with caponata. Want a delicious recipe with eggplant, capers and tomatoes? Try our recipe here!