Salt packed capers
Just got a wonderful jar of salt packed/cured capers. I'm been using the brined-in-liquid capers and wanted to try out the salt packed which I've read are so much more flavorful. Much more caper-y intenstive taste on first try. Question: Is it best to rinse these babies first, or is the saltiness a plus in their use? My impulse is to soak in fresh water, drain and use.
Additionally, any favorite uses for this flavorful ingredient? We mostly use with smoked salmon, puttanesca sauce, remoulade sauce. Thanks!
Rinse first. The salt is there simply as a preservative. There's nothing special about it -- caper salt will not add some magic, wonderful taste to your dishes. It's just salt.
But don't overdo the rinsing, or the capers will become mush.
I simply pour out as many capers as I need into a colander under the tap -- it works fine.
As for what capers can be used for -- experiment! FWIW, I especially like them with with fish and chicken. Also a great way to perk up plain old tuna salad.
Rinsing depends on what you use them with. The salt has such great flavor that I'll leave them salty if the dish can take it. But if you're making something a little more subtle, soak in several changes of cold water for about 15 minutes (you can order the very best capers, from the island of Pantelleria, from www.esperya.com).
Here are a few other ways I use them (and I've got about 2 kilos in my cupboard right now..one thing worth carrying home from Italy, and they last pretty much forever)...unless specified, these use unsoaked capers.
-chop finely with flat-leaf parsley, fresh basil (if you can find it, if not leave out), garlic or shallot, anchovy (or bottarga), little bit of lemon juice or good vinegar, and your best olive oil to make salsa verde...good on damn near anything, but especially fish or grilled meats.
-toss with roasted cauliflower, lightly sauteed garlic, breadcrumbs, and pasta (with more olive oil).
-soak, chop, and sprinkle over steamed, peeled, and sliced potatoes (waxy variety) with a bit of oregano and lots of olive oil...serve at room temp.
There are other caper-using dishes on my site....