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The caper plant and its fruits have originated in the Mediterranean. Since they are edible plants, they are usually used to make different sauces and also for salads, appetisers and stews.
The following article will explain what capers are, their properties and how to prepare 7 dishes with these nutritious plants (with chicken, salmon, olives and other ingredients).
Capers are fruits of the plant commonly known as caper bush, and their scientific name is “Capparis spinosa”.
Although the word “caper” refers to the plant itself, it is commonly used when talking about its edible flower buds. They are usually eaten when they are still buds and are pickled in salt or vinegar.
Moreover, when the bud flowers, it produces a small fruit called caper berry. The latter have a similar shape to that of olives and they are usually served pickled. Their taste is slightly sour, so they combine perfectly with many foods (particularly white meat).
The caper is native to the Mediterranean, including regions of Asia and Africa. It is especially cultivated in different parts of Spain, although nowadays it is becoming increasingly common in the north and south of America.
Once picked, it is recommended to pickle the capers in airtight containers with salt or vinegar. This help prevent capers from dehydrating, and so they preserve both their flavour and properties.
As it is the case with other edible plants and fruits, capers are popular due to their various health properties. For example, this plant is attributed with hypotensive properties (they lower blood pressure levels), diuretic properties (they increase urination) as well as tonic and invigorating properties.
Their diuretic properties lead to depurative properties. As in the case of other plants, the consumption of capers has usually been related to the detoxification of the body.
These properties are not only attributed to their fruits and buds, but also to the caper’s stem, flowers and root. As for their gastronomic properties, capers are widely used as appetisers, that is, as foods that stimulate the appetite just before a main meal.
However, this is not the only gastronomic use of capers. For example, they are used to be served with meat, anchovies and olives, as well as to make pizzas and tartar sauce. They are also used to prepare sauces, salads and stews, as we are going to see next.
Capers are very useful if you want to prepare healthy recipes thanks to the nutrients they provide. They include high amounts of water, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins (C, E and K), minerals (magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium) and a minimum amount of fats.
Next, we will present 7 recipes with capers, including caper sauce, salmon with capers, chicken with capers, salads with capers and pickled capers in vinegar.
Caper sauce is very easy to prepare and it can be made in many ways. For example, you can use ½ cup of drained capers, ¾ cup of mayonnaise and ½ cup of heavy cream (semi-solid cream).
To prepare it, blend the capers with the mayonnaise until you get a homogeneous mixture. Then, add the cream and mix again. Add salt and spices to taste.
Another typical caper sauce recipe is the one mixed with olives. To prepare it, you need 50 grams of black olives (pitted), ½ tablespoon of mustard, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a piece of lemon rind, salt, parsley and pepper to taste.
First, beat the mustard with salt, pepper, the lemon juice and the lemon rind. Then, add the olives (previously chopped) and, finally, the capers. Beat again and taste it.
Once you have made any of these caper sauces recipes, you can add them to any type of meat you prefer, or to a salad or toast.
Capers can be served with different meats, including salmon. For a salmon with capers recipe, you need: 250 grams of salmon, 70 grams of capers, 30 grams of butter, olive oil (for frying) and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
After marinating the salmon with salt and some pepper for several minutes, fry it in a preheated frying pan, adding a teaspoon of olive oil.
In another frying pan, put the butter with the lemon juice and a spoonful of olive oil. When it starts boiling, add the capers and salt to taste. Let it cook for a few minutes, slightly stirring the capers. Finally, serve the salmon with the seasoned capers on top.
The salmon with capers sauce recipe is similar to the previous one. To prepare it, once again, you need 250 grams of salmon. This time, do not previously fry it, since you will cook it with the caper sauce.
In a frying pan, fry the capers with some butter and white wine. You can use whole capers or previously whip them. When the mixture of wine and butter slightly reduces, add the salmon fillet and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Add half a cup of liquid cream, and flip the fillet over when it starts to change colour. Cook for another 10 minutes and serve. You can garnish it with some dill sprigs.
For the chicken with capers recipe, you need: 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 600 grams of chicken (fillets or chunks), ⅔ cup of white wine, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of previously drained capers, 2 tablespoons of lemon peel and 3 tablespoons of butter.
This dish is very similar to the previous salmon recipes. First, heat a large frying pan and pour some olive oil. Then, place the chicken and cook it for about 4 minutes on each side.
Once you do this, remove the chicken and, in the same frying pan, put the wine, lemon juice, capers and lemon rind. Let this boil and stir occasionally. Cook it for about 2 minutes.
Then, add the butter and simmer for another 2 minutes. Finally, put the chicken back in the frying pan, turn off the heat and serve immediately.
The chicken with capers and olives recipe is similar to the previous one. For this recipe, you need: chicken (about 8 fillets or chunks), 4 cloves of garlic, 2 chillies, 1 onion, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 2 tablespoons of orange juice, ¾ cup of tomato sauce, ½ cup of olive oil, 2 cups of water, 15 olives, 2 teaspoons of rum, 1 teaspoon of capers, salt and pepper to taste.
First, marinate the chicken with orange juice and then season it with garlic, chilli, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook this for 10 to 15 minutes and add the onion and a teaspoon of rum.
Let it marinate while, in another frying pan, heat the oil. Add the chicken and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Then, mix the tomato sauce with some water and add it to the chicken as well as the olives, capers and the remaining teaspoon of rum. Cook this for another 2 to 5 minutes and finally, serve.
For a salad with capers, potato and cucumber, you need: 1 kilogram of potatoes, 4 pickled cucumbers in vinegar (cut into slices), 2 tablespoons of capers, lettuce leaves and sea salt.
You also need 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of parsley and black pepper. These are the ingredients for the dressing. In order to prepare it, boil the potatoes in water with salt for about 20 minutes.
Once drained, peel and cut them into cubes. Then, put them in a bowl along with the cucumbers and capers. Also, mix the ingredients for the dressing. Then, toss the vegetables with the dressing.
To serve it, place the lettuce leaves on a salad plate and over them, add the salad with capers, potato and cucumber.
If you wonder how to pickle your own capers, this is what you need: 1 kilogram of fresh capers, 1 litre of vinegar, 15 basil leaves and 4 tablespoons of sea salt or coarse salt.
First, you should wash and dry the capers. Then, put them in a bowl or tray, cover them with salt and let them rest for 3 days, in a cool place.
After this time, mix the vinegar with the basil leaves in a saucepan, and cook them for 2 minutes. Afterwards, let the mixture cool.
Meanwhile, wash the capers (to remove the salt) and put them in glass jars. Then, add the mixture of vinegar and basil (as long as it is at a medium temperature).
Let it cool again for a few minutes and, finally, cover the jars. It is recommended to eat these pickled capers over the next two years.
Check out the original article: Alcaparras: qué son y 7 recetas (con salmón, pollo, ensaladas y en conserva) at viviendolasalud.com
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