You may have heard about capers in a fancy restaurant but didn't know what they were. They sound like they could be a type of root vegetable or a type of fish. Capers aren't used or talked about enough so it's no wonder you may not be keen on their uses. After reading this and trying some recipes that include capers, you won't remember a time when you didn't include them into your dishes!

What Is A Caper?

caper plant

Capers are culinary treats that are actually unopened flower buds from the prickly Mediterranean caper shrub. The unopened buds, or berries, are found on the new limbs of the caper shrub which can be found along rocky cliffs because it flourishes in arid soil and landscape. The berries are about the size of a pearl and are the color of a ripe avocado skin.

How Do Capers Taste?

To put it one way: they taste how the ocean smells. Capers are pickled, and used for seasoning and garnish. They are an acquired taste. Their powerful aroma reflects capers' distinct, salty flavor which may not appeal to every palette. Once you embrace their robust flavor, you will feel the need to add them to many dishes. Also, unbeknownst to you, you may have already eaten capers, as they are often added to Italian sauces. They are the secret behind many great Mediterranean dishes.

Where Do You Buy Capers?

thin caper jar

Capers can be found in most supermarkets in the olives and pickles section. They come in a small, cylindrical jar packed in vinegar, oil or brine. Sometimes, they will be found packed in sea salt. This is the favorite way to buy capers for top chefs. Unlike their pickled cousins, these capers retain their firmness and pack even more flavor.

How Do You Use Capers?

Because they are native to the Mediterranean coastline, you can use capers in recipes that hail from these countries. They can be used plain and eaten whole. You can mix them in with other ingredients to add depth to your dishes. Chefs even fry them up for a crunchier texture. They can be added to vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, and even eggs. When added to sauces or salad dressings, it turns boring and standard to extraordinary. Basically, there is no limit to the mighty caper's deliciousness. Just remember, a little goes a long way.

Recipes Using Capers

Because the uses of capers are so pervasive, there are thousands of recipes which include them. Capers can either be a show stopper or in the background adding a subtle punch. Either way, adding them will change how you think about cooking and how you eat.

1. Spaghetti with Tomato, Arugula, Capers, and Olives

caper in jar

This is a simple and classic recipe for capers. The pasta is a vehicle for getting the toppings all in one bite. The sweetness of the tomatoes balance the sharpness of the arugula. The capers and olives round out the ingredients with their saltiness. It turns plain old spaghetti with tomato sauce into an elegant meal.

2. Chicken In Caper Cream Sauce

chicken and capers

Tired of grilled chicken breasts cooked in olive oil and a packet of Italian seasoning? Well, here's a recipe that is just as simple to make but with a taste that is out of this world. Who doesn't like cream sauce and chicken? Add capers and you have meal suitable for any restaurant.

3. Roasted New Potato, Lentil And Kale Salad With Caper Lemon Dressing

lemon caper dressing

This is no ordinary salad. It is hearty enough to be an entire meal but with only a few ingredients. Pairing capers and lemons together in a dressing add tang to the bitter kale and salt to the bland potato.

4. Smoked Salmon And Cream Cheese Bagel With Capers

salmon capers

Capers are not just for suppertime. Served at brunch or breakfast is a great way to jump start your day. The capers waken your body as you inhale their ocean aroma. Their pungent taste livens your soul to ensure you'll have a great day.

5. Roasted Cauliflower + Tomatoes + Capers

roasted cauliflower

Consider this dish when asked to bring a vegetable to your next potluck dinner. It will certainly impress your fellow guests while feeding them gut-friendly vegetables.

6. Balsamic Glazed Pork Medallions And Capers

pork medallions

Pork, the other white meat, can dry out quickly if not cooked properly. Seared to make a crust then cooked thoroughly in the chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, and capers, the pork absorbs all of that goodness. The liquids thicken to make a robust sauce.

7. Pizza Bianca With Scamorza Cheese, Celery Root, And Capers


This pizza is definitely not delivery. It is perfect for a rustic date night. Don't be intimidated by the unusual ingredients - they are fun to utilize and even more fun to eat! Pair it with a glass of wine and that's Friday pizza night for adults.

8. Sweet Potato Toast With Caper Tapenade


This appetizer or snack is what happens when you decide that being healthy is delicious. Sweet potatoes, YUM balance the saltiness of the capers and olives. Add fresh rosemary and thyme and wow! You've packed in tons of flavors to bounce off one in another in every single bite.

9. Shrimp Po'Boy With Greek Yogurt Coleslaw And Caper Remoulade

po boy

This recipe is a perfect example how adding capers can amplify the recipe without overpowering it. It adds dimension to this class New Orleans sandwich. The creamy yogurt absorbs the briny flavor of capers, toning down their tenacity. Conversely, the shrimp and cabbage promote the lemony zest of the capers.

10. Pasta Puttanesca


This Italian dish has been created for hundreds of years. The sauce made of tomatoes, parsley, kalamata olives, garlic, and capers is an example of eating locally. All of these ingredients come from the Mediterranean coastline and it is apparent. Elevate your spaghetti and jarred tomato sauce with this recipe. Trade the processed sodium for the natural salty, lemony, tang of the capers.

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