The turnover in my childhood refrigerator was an impressive one, all jars of jam, knobby ginger roots, and nubs of cheese got quickly incorporated into family meals or eaten as-is from the fridge. But there was one constant amidst the changing landscape: a briny jar of capers swimming in the door next to the mustard, removed perhaps twice a year for varied piccatas and pasta dishes, and presumably depleted and replaced at least once in the seventeen years I lived at home. Though it's hard to say. We asked the community: What are your favorite ways to work through a jar (or bag) of capers?
- A rinse in milk is even better than a rinse in water for removing the overly vinegary taste of capers, says ChefJune. Do that. Then:
- Roll a handful in cornstarch and fry oil until crispy, says Kristen W., then add them to salads, soups, or fish for a punchy take on the crouton.
- For a vegetarian-friendly Caesar salad dressing, substitute capers for anchovies as Susan W does.
- Or make another caper-filled dressing, like April Bloomfield's genius (and brash) lemon-caper dressing.
- Match their intense flavor with other intense flavors, like in this radicchio-and-hazelnut salad.
HalfPint uses them as a brightening agent in chicken salad, as they cut the richness of mayonnaise. Similarly, Exbruxelles uses them in tuna salad or deviled eggs.
- Make a chicken piccata! Or a puttanesca! Or, says Maedl, a French or Italian beef stew, which often call for a ton of capers.
- Capers make a powerful and wonderful pizza topping with anchovies, bacon, and raw chopped garlic, says Spikeygrrl.
- Smash them with herbs and anchovies to make a green sauce good enough to put on everything, from steak to eggs to roasted vegetables.
UncleJess advises that you could sub in capers for nearly any savory recipe that calls for salt: "You get the benefits of salt, plus a complex bitter flavor as well. They bond particularly well with citrus, tomato, fish, eggplant, pasta, and many other things."
- Capers sing with smoked fish; louisez serves them with cream cheese and smoked salmon on baguettes (or bagels, or potato rosti).
- And the zingy, salty brine is great sprinkled on popcorn, says Jr0717!
- But cv reminds that since they're packed in salt or brine, they'll last nearly forever—so you can take your time with them.
Photo by Melina Hammer
What are your favorite ways to use capers (and their brine)? Tell us in the comments.