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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What To Do With... Capers

These salty little darlings are one of my favourite things. Capers are the pickled or salted bud of a Mediterranean shrub aptly named a caper bush. (What else?) A jar of these briny little nubs don’t last long at our house.

Like anchovies, capers play a great supporting cast member. They have a special affinity for fish and chicken. They add a brightness to these delicate flavours that doesn’t overwhelm.

There are a multitude of uses for capers, and I love them all:

As an add in:
1. Added to a pasta sauce – like a puttanesca
2. Chopped up and added to a tuna fish sandwich mixture or potato salad
3. Black Mission Fig and Olive Tapenade

Classic Preparations:
4. Sole Grenobloise: a lemon butter sauce with capers on top of sole (or any white fish)
5. Garnished on top of smoked salmon with sprigs of dill
6. Included in classic sauces such as tartar sauce; remoulade and Cesar dressing
7. Chicken Veracruzano: a delicious chicken dish with an olive, onion, and tomato topping
8. Chicken Piccata: lightly breaded chicken breasts served with a sauce made with chicken broth, capers, and butter.
9. Added to bruschetta
10. Chicken Marbella: This classic Silver Palate recipe is a go-to recipe in our home. It’s delicious and so easy to make. It is really great for a crowd and the flavours are better the next day so this makes it a great make-ahead recipe for the holidays. This recipe is all over the internet and most versions I saw hardly deviated from the original. It’s delicious.

Chicken Marbella
Adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook

12-15 boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
1 head of garlic, peeled and pureed
2 tbsp oregano (powdered)
½ c white wine vinegar
1/2c olive oil**
1c pitted prunes
1c green olives
1/2c capers (with a bit of the juice)
1c brown sugar**
1c white wine
1/4c fresh parsley, chopped coarsely

1. Marinate the chicken in the garlic puree, oregano, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives and capers. (The longer the better, the original recipe calls for overnight and I think its worth the wait.)
2. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. Pour chicken and marinate into an oven proof dish, add white wine and sprinkle brown sugar.
4. Bake for an hour. Serve over rice, garnish with parsley.

*we’ve tried it with chicken breasts, too but thighs are much better
**I have reduced the amount of sugar and olive oil – this works for me but others might consider it sacrilege.


Sherrie said...

The chicken marbella sounds good.

Hungry Gal said...

@ Sherrie

OMG it is delicious. And it actually tastes better the next day.

V said...

I love eating pickled capers as appetizer. The bigger variety btw.

Hungry Gal said...

@ V

Oh me too. They are called caperberries. (I always think of Bridget Jones's Diary and her caperberry gravy!)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried them deep fried. I just had them that way on top of carpaccio with arugula. Their great!

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