Mediterranean region has long been known as a fairyland with a relatively mild climate, beautiful scenery, and tranquility. The culture is diverse but homogeneous in a unique way there, which is easy to see in the cuisine of the indigenous people.
A study found that the Mediterranean diet affects weight loss and cholesterol-lowering; thereby, reducing the risk of illness and enhancing human health.
The reason is that the Mediterranean menu also focuses on healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, seeds and buds, particularly capers, which are used to flavor dishes and sauces.
So, what do capers taste like and how are they used? The information below will answer this question to you.
What Are Capers?
Capers are small grayish-green flower buds of Capparis inermis, known as caper plant, which grows commonly in the Mediterranean region. Over 4000 years ago, they were mentioned as an ingredient in the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh.
The quality of capers is evaluated based on their size. The smaller capers are, the more valuable they are. Harvesting capers get difficult because caper plants grow mainly in dry, stony places such as rocky cliff or cracks.
Moreover, the buds must be picked by hand in the early morning before blooming. If not, you only receive purplish-white flowers instead of buds.
Besides, of course, caper plants produce fruit, called caper berries which have small olive-sized ones. These fruits are also used as ingredients in cooking, especially antipasti recipes.
After caper buds are harvested, they are categorized and named based on their size. For instance, nonpareils are the up-to 7 mm long buds, the 8 mm long ones are called surfines and ones are about 9-10 mm long are named capatoes.
Of three these types of the capers, nonpareils and capatoes are perfect ones to make pickled capers, while only nonpareils are selected for making condiments.
What Do Capers Taste Like?
Pickled capers are common types used in cooking and sold in a lot of local stores. For many people, these capers taste sour and salty in the same way of pickled cucumbers; however, they have a sharper and spicier taste.
In reality, the flavor of the fresh capers is not unusual. Due to being dried in the sun and then pickled in the salt brine with vinegar and olive oil, the caper buds have increased the sharpness of the taste. If you try capers at the first time, you may get a little challenge. However, if eating them often, you properly never forget their taste.
How Are Capers Pickled At Home?
Instead of buying a jar of pickled capers available in stores or supermarkets, you can also make a homemade version of capers for yourself. Feel secure that doing the following steps below will give you a jar of capers with the flavor and taste like store-bought one.
Before doing the way on how to pickle capers, learn about the way of choosing good capers. To make sure that your caper jar reaches the required standard, you have to select tightly unopened caper buds. Also, you should not choose mature buds because they are bitter and make the flavor spoiled.
What You Need:
- A cup of fresh caper buds.
- A cup of vinegar.
- A cup of fresh water.
- Two tablespoons of non-iodized salt.
How To Do:
- Step 1: Soaking the capers
Before being picked, capers have a strong unpleasant smell and bitter taste. So, similarly to olives, the first step is soaking them in water to remove their bitterness.
- Wash the capers with clean water to get rid of the dust and rotten parts.
- Put them into a jar of water and cover the lid and soak them for 24 hours at room temperature.
- Within three days, change the water in the jar daily.
- Step 2: Pickling the capers
- Mix vinegar, water, and salt into a pot to make the brine.
- Boil the brine and then let it cool for half an hour. • Pour the cooled brine into the jar of capers with the lid covering.
- Keep the jar in the refrigerator for one week before tasting and using it for recipes.
How Are Capers Used In Recipes?
As mentioned above, the caper is a kind of tradition seasoning in the Mediterranean region. With their unique flavors and tastes, they can make a plenty of main dishes appealing and charming.
In particular, they help your chicken, meat or fish with better taste; moreover, they are ideal dressings for your salads and spice up your sauces.
The following is a recipe for capers which I would like to introduce to you. It’s “Pan-fried beef steak with parsley sauce”. The dish is enough for 4-6 servings, and you will take about 30 minutes to perform it.
To Marinate The Beef, You Need The Ingredients As Follows:
- A 500-gram beef fillet.
- ¼ teaspoon of salt.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- 2 cloves of garlic.
- ½ teaspoon of pepper.
To Make Parsley Sauce, You Need To Prepare The Ingredients Below:
- 3 cloves of garlic.
- 2 teaspoons of vinegar-pickled capers.
- 6 pieces of anchovy fillets in olive oil.
- 1 small bunch of parsley.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
- 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
- 2 chopped chilies.
- A little salt (if needed).
- Leave the beef at room temperature and then marinate it with salt, olive oil, garlic, and pepper.
- Chop parsley, garlic, anchovy fillets and capers together. Put the chopped mixture in a medium-size bowl and add vinegar, olive oil and chilies to it and mix well. Taste it and if needed, add a little salt.
- Heat the frying pan for about 4 minutes over high heat. Pour the oil into it and let it heat long. After that, put the beef fillet in the pan and fry each side for about 3-5 minutes until browned.
- Take the fried beef out of the pan and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Cutting it into thick slices and place them on a plate, sprinkle the parsley sauce and pepper and eat when it is still hot.
The Bottom Line About What Do Capers Taste Like?
With the useful information above, I’m sure that you found the answer to the question “What do caper taste like?”
Moreover, with the method of pickling capers in vinegar, you will always have a jar of capers to used in cooking all the time.
Capers not only increase flavor for your foods but also they have many benefits for human health, especially helping those who want to lose weight. Why don’t you make yourself a jar of capers today?