While dining out at one of the top steakhouses in the US recently, Rhonda and myself ordered a house cured salmon appetizer. Topping the salmon was tiny, olive-green capers along with the bloody, medium-rare beef steak which I didn’t even need to coerce her to eat. I won’t embarrass her with a photo of her eating steak this time, but if you click on the link above you will see just how much she seemed to enjoy it (Sorry once again Rhonda).
Salmon topped with Capers
Knowing most people don’t know what a caper is, I questioned Rhonda about her knowledge of this delicious berry. She didn’t know what exactly capers were, so I thought it would educate our readers on this mysterious berry. Most people who have had capers don’t even know that capers are berries. In fact, most people have only had capers stuffed inside olives. Although most would mistake them for sweet peas or some kind of legume, they are actually edible flower buds from the Flinders rose bush, which is native to the Iberian Peninsula – more specifically Spain, Greece and Italy. Greeks believe the caper berry also has medicinal purposes for treating inflammation due to rheumatism.
Once the caper is matured, it is picked and usually pickled with salt. It looks almost exactly like green peas, and can easily be mistaken for them. The texture is also very similar to green peas as well. They are very squishy, and mash easily on the palate. They have a slightly salty taste due to the pickling process, which is why they are usually paired with smoked or cured fish. Aside from the light saltiness, the flavor is a cross between a juniper berry (the berry gin is made from) and snow peas. It has the earthiness and savory flavor of a pea with the piney flavor of a juniper berry. I absolutely love capers. Grab some smoked or cured fish, throw some capers on top, and enjoy it on toasted bread with a glass of wine.
Rhonda’s Commentary: I think I actually thought the capers were peas until Harrison mentioned it at dinner. I believe I had consumed a little too much wine at that point in the evening to pay attention to the fact that we’d ordered the salmon topped with capers. I can honestly say I don’t know if I’ve had capers before. They were quite tasty. I’m not sure if I’d consider them a bizarre food personally, but the fact that most people would mistake them for green peas when they’re really flower buds is weird enough I suppose! The capers were a fantastic addition to a great dinner.