HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

I have a jar of capers. Now what?

ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 01:54 PM

I was at the market, as I was walking by the capers when it occurred to me that I had never used capers before. I came home and made a lemon caper sauce, which used a small fraction of the jar I purchased. What do I do with the rest of them? Any good recipes?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. d
    DPGood RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 01:57 PM

    Are you in a hurry to use them up? because they last for a long time...

    3 Replies
    1. re: DPGood
      ThePiedPiper RE: DPGood May 27, 2011 02:02 PM

      I'm not particularly anxious, but I'd like to know there's something I can do with them. I also enjoyed them, so I wouldn't mind using them again.

      1. re: DPGood
        easily amused RE: DPGood May 28, 2011 03:21 AM

        So, how long do they last? I have a small jar that I forgot about...unopened.
        Once I open things..like jars/sauces...I date them with a Sharpie markie and put into the fridge.
        However this jar has never been opened. Yikes they might be 2 years old!
        Still OK?

        1. re: easily amused
          magiesmom RE: easily amused May 28, 2011 05:41 AM

          They'll be fine.

      2. THewat RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 02:02 PM

        Lemon & capers are such a happy match. Here they are in chicken piccata (Giada De Laurentiis): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

        1. chefathome RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 02:03 PM

          They are delicious fried. Also yummy in a marinade for goat's cheese or feta. And a nice change in salads.

          1. cowboyardee RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 02:07 PM

            Capers have too many uses to list. They're excellent added to salads for an astringent note. As others have noted, they're great with (or without) lemon in sauces. They play well with pasta. They're a fine addition to a butter sauce for trout or other white fleshed fish, or as a finishing touch to cream based pan sauces for pork, veal, even beef - they're good for cutting richness.

            One of my favorite uses is to rinse and thoroughly dry a small handful of them. Then deep fry them in a 1/2 inch of oil (~350 degrees) in your smallest saucepan. They come out crispy, flavorful little garnishes that can be used for nearly anything.

            1. d
              DPGood RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 02:08 PM

              I like capers too. They go great on a toasted bagel with lox, cream cheese, raw onion, etc. Sure you'll get a lot of other good ideas from other posters too. Enjoy.

              1. Caitlin McGrath RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 02:18 PM

                Now that we're moving toward summer and tomato season, I'm looking forward to making one of my favorite summer dishes: Chop ripe tomatoes, and put them in a bowl with capers, shredded basil leaves, salt and pepper, and olive oil, and leave to marinate for an hour or two. Then cook some pasta (a short shape like shells or rotini), and toss the hot pasta with the tomato mixture and some fresh goat cheese or cubed fresh mozzarella.

                1. j
                  Jeri L RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 02:19 PM

                  They make a regular appearance in my tuna salad and tartar sauce.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Jeri L
                    Ed Dibble RE: Jeri L May 27, 2011 02:21 PM

                    Amen. Try tuna salad with chopped red onions, diced celery, capers, and mayo. Simple yet more subtle and sophisticated.

                    1. re: Ed Dibble
                      Chris VR RE: Ed Dibble May 28, 2011 02:09 PM

                      Add some cilantro, and replace that mayo with olive oil, add some lemon juice, and you've got one of my favorite summer lunches.

                      1. re: Chris VR
                        c oliver RE: Chris VR May 28, 2011 02:49 PM

                        Use Italian tuna packed in olive oil and a little chopped red onion and you've got...heaven :)

                    2. re: Jeri L
                      aurora50 RE: Jeri L May 27, 2011 02:23 PM

                      I believe they're one of the essential ingredients in a classic Puttanesca sauce for pasta.
                      AND it is delicious.

                      1. re: aurora50
                        S_K RE: aurora50 May 27, 2011 03:29 PM

                        Yes, yes they are! That was my first thought!

                    3. Sue in Mt P RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 02:25 PM

                      And they are great in potato salad.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Sue in Mt P
                        pasuga RE: Sue in Mt P May 28, 2011 01:44 AM

                        +1 My Mom always added about a tablespoon plus a tiny splash of the caper vinegar to her standard potato/egg/onion/mayo salad - gives just the right contrast.

                      2. c
                        cb1 RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 02:33 PM

                        I've started to add them to salmon cakes, and I know it sounds strange but I like them with eggs, either scrambled or in an omlet with some leftover seafood (shrimp, crab)

                        Capers are one of those things that once I started using, I wondered how I had gone so long without ever trying them. We always have a jar in the fridge now.

                        1. v
                          Val RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 03:33 PM

                          Capers are awesome! Great flavor from such a tiny food item! In case you like sardines, this one from epicurious is easy and sooooo delish...I always add fresh lemon to it...Mark Bittman also has a sardine & caper recipe on youtube....p.s. I never fry the capers & fail to see what that even does for the recipe...sheesh!


                          1. DiningDiva RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 03:52 PM

                            Pescado Veracruzana won't be the same without capers. Lots of recipes if you Google it.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: DiningDiva
                              Veggo RE: DiningDiva May 27, 2011 08:53 PM

                              absolutely DD, and also green olives. A few golden raisins are a nice touch for a salty- sweet-savory combo. Salsa Veracruzana works nicely with shrimp, too.

                              1. re: Veggo
                                DiningDiva RE: Veggo May 27, 2011 09:34 PM

                                It also works with chicken

                            2. s
                              smtucker RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 04:04 PM

                              I love tapenade which uses a liberal number of capers. Anything with lemons, especially picatta. I sometimes throw a few on a sandwich. Anything that can benefit from brininess loves a caper.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: smtucker
                                c oliver RE: smtucker May 28, 2011 12:03 AM

                                I make a tapenade where I put Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes in the FP. I pulse gently, want to get them chopped but not pulverized. Then I put in the capers with some oo and VERY gently pulse. Some of the capers remain whole. I've been making this for a few years and love it. Also love that I have the ingredients on hand all the time.

                              2. s
                                Surfwench RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 05:24 PM

                                I combine soft cream cheese and capers for a yummy spread for a roast beef sandwich.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Surfwench
                                  cb1 RE: Surfwench May 27, 2011 06:06 PM

                                  was going to have a beef sandwich for dinner with my usual tiger sauce......but I think I'm going to try the cream cheese and capers spread.....thanks surfwench......great name btw....

                                2. iL Divo RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 05:32 PM

                                  a girlfriend of mine was going on and on about the most wonderful salad dressing/meat marinade/dipping sauce/topping she'd ever made.
                                  it's apparently the best thing since sliced bread.
                                  I got it out of her and was shocked to hear what it was.
                                  but I made it because I love her and trust her taste buds.
                                  I found it to be disasterously ghastly but at least I tried.
                                  hesitating to tell you the ingredients but will if you think capers are tremendously delicious.
                                  [and your'e game for something odd]

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: iL Divo
                                    DPGood RE: iL Divo May 27, 2011 07:45 PM

                                    OK, let's hear it.

                                    1. re: DPGood
                                      iL Divo RE: DPGood May 28, 2011 09:23 AM

                                      I just sent her an email to remind me exactly before posting.
                                      I'll post when I hear back.

                                      Remembering when I went to buy the capers (that I thought I already owned but didn't) for exemplary recipe, <?
                                      I was not thrilled with their cost and hoped I'd love this recipe, but not to be.

                                      1. re: DPGood
                                        iL Divo RE: DPGood May 28, 2011 02:23 PM

                                        I had forgotten ingreds glad I didn't post.

                                        Salad dressing
                                        Marinade for meat, fish,chicken or vegetables 
                                        Dipping sauce
                                        Condiment for spreading on sourdough bread then toasting 

                                        1 small jar capers in liquid
                                        4 lg cloves garlic
                                        1/2 c olive oil
                                         Fresh ground black pepper
                                         Squeeze anchovy paste or 2 fillets
                                        In small food processor put:
                                        Anchovy paste
                                        ---Blend---Liquid & Fresh pepper
                                        ---Blend---Olive oil

                                        1. re: iL Divo
                                          DPGood RE: iL Divo May 28, 2011 02:30 PM

                                          Sounds great, and easy. Love anchovies. Bought a tube of anchovy paste this week and have been eating it off the end of my finger.

                                          1. re: DPGood
                                            iL Divo RE: DPGood May 28, 2011 11:01 PM

                                            I love what anchovies do to a dish without knowing that there is fish in there.
                                            Have heard often that people don't make Caesar dressing due to not liking anchovies.
                                            Don't get it.

                                            1. re: iL Divo
                                              c oliver RE: iL Divo May 29, 2011 07:37 AM

                                              Nothing wrong with not having anchovies in a Caesar. The original version didn't.

                                          2. re: iL Divo
                                            c oliver RE: iL Divo May 28, 2011 02:33 PM

                                            You found THIS to be "disasterously ghastly"?? That sounds fantastic.

                                            1. re: iL Divo
                                              goodhealthgourmet RE: iL Divo May 29, 2011 02:25 PM

                                              yet another example of how subjective taste is...you hated the combination, and i just suggested anchovy-caper dressing on Friday! though yours is missing an acid which i think makes a huge difference - perhaps if there had been some lemon juice or sherry vinegar to balance it you wouldn't have found it quite so ghastly ;)

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                c oliver RE: goodhealthgourmet May 29, 2011 02:32 PM

                                                Good suggestion, ghg. The tapenade I make always has a little sherry vinegar --- one of my favorite things :)

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: c oliver May 29, 2011 03:50 PM

                                                  of all the things i could have gotten someone hooked on, i'd say sherry vinegar is a great choice ;)

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                    c oliver RE: goodhealthgourmet May 29, 2011 05:00 PM

                                                    Indeed it is. Sometimes I just have to have a little dot on my finger to lick :)

                                                  2. re: c oliver
                                                    Rella RE: c oliver Jun 3, 2011 07:21 PM

                                                    I was just nuts about sherry vinegar. I used a bottle and liked it. I bought another brand and liked it, as well, but got less enamored with it, too. I've read about different brands, none of which I was able to find.

                                                    I'm still not adverse to using it, but thinking perhaps there's a brand out there that's not over-the-top in price, but maybe I would enjoy using/trying again.

                                                    I don't get to a metropolitan area, but I do get to near Fairfax, VA which has a pretty good shopping area.


                                                    1. re: Rella
                                                      c oliver RE: Rella Jun 3, 2011 07:49 PM

                                                      Check out this thread. goodhealthgourmet was definitely my mentor :)


                                                      I've bought mine from Despana in NYC. I have to believe that the DC area would have a selection. There's a Spanish place in Georgetown that's Spanish restaurant. Name Bodega. They should be able to advise.

                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                        Rella RE: c oliver Jun 5, 2011 02:33 PM

                                                        Thank you.

                                                        Loh & Behold, June 4, I was wine shopping at a country store and I saw one tiny bottle of capers "Delicia's." (I see there is a Delicia's Market in DC.)

                                                        What struck me is that the label says,

                                                        Capers in Sherry Vinegar

                                                        Yes, I bought it. Price wasn't an object, although it was inexpensive. I'm never sure where these little stores get their items, as it seems very random.

                                                        1. re: Rella
                                                          c oliver RE: Rella Jun 5, 2011 03:34 PM

                                                          Oh, wow. Sherry vinegar and capers? I may have to put up a little bottle of it. Thanks for the tip.

                                          3. goodhealthgourmet RE: ThePiedPiper May 27, 2011 08:37 PM

                                            might find some more ideas here:

                                            if you're into *serious* umami flavor, pair them with anchovies in a salad dressing:
                                            (sherry vinegar is also wonderful in place of the lemon juice)

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                              Piggyinthemiddle RE: goodhealthgourmet May 28, 2011 12:55 AM

                                              Great cheat's tartare sauce: Good bottled mayo - Best Foods/Hellmans/ etc. Add chopped capers, finely chopped red onion and ditto dill pickle (NOT relish). Stir in a good dollop of chopped flat parsley and fresh lemon juice. Leave to mature, covered, in fridge for several hours or overnight. Excellent with any baked, broiled or fried fish - so much better than any bought tartare sauce.

                                              1. re: Piggyinthemiddle
                                                toodie jane RE: Piggyinthemiddle Jun 5, 2011 07:05 PM

                                                how is this cheating? not making fresh mayo? sounds fine to me! except you left out the horseradish and freshly ground pepper.

                                            2. n
                                              NanH RE: ThePiedPiper May 28, 2011 03:58 AM

                                              Cold poached salmon with lemon, capers and dill and cream cheese on little pieces of pumpernickel.

                                              1. m
                                                magiesmom RE: ThePiedPiper May 28, 2011 05:43 AM

                                                I love a few capers in very softly scrambled eggs.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: magiesmom
                                                  iL Divo RE: magiesmom May 28, 2011 11:03 PM

                                                  love soft tender scrambled eggs

                                                2. Veggo RE: ThePiedPiper May 28, 2011 06:00 AM

                                                  Anyone know why the little capers cost so much more than the larger ones?

                                                  12 Replies
                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                    porker RE: Veggo May 28, 2011 06:22 AM

                                                    I saw an Anthony Bourdain episode where Tony goes caper picking with a few Greek guys (I think it was Greece...could be mistaken). Looks pretty labour intensive for a hand-pick activity. Likely much easier and quicker to fill a jar with 12 jumbos than 100 small ones...

                                                    To the OP, hows about a dirty capertini - 3oz of Bombay Saphire gin shaken with ice, strained into a glass, stir in tablespoon of caper jar juice, garnish with 1 jumbo or 5 small capers.

                                                    1. re: Veggo
                                                      c oliver RE: Veggo May 28, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                      I've been buying capers at Costco for years and years now. Sooooo reasonably priced.

                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                        DPGood RE: c oliver May 28, 2011 08:14 AM

                                                        OP You should be hooked on capers by now. Hope so. What next?

                                                        Keep your eyes peeled for a jar of Caper Berries. Then you'll become an addict--of both.

                                                        1. re: DPGood
                                                          normanwolf RE: DPGood May 28, 2011 08:29 AM

                                                          Depending on how much work you want to do, I'm fond of Trinidadian pastelles. Living in North America, I sub aluminium foil for the banana (fig) leaves....

                                                          Here's a version:

                                                          1. re: DPGood
                                                            c oliver RE: DPGood May 28, 2011 08:36 AM

                                                            I love caperberries. A few in a martini are nice.

                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                              porker RE: c oliver May 28, 2011 09:51 AM

                                                              now THATS a good idear {;-/)

                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                DiningDiva RE: c oliver May 28, 2011 10:09 AM

                                                                I really like caperberries too. Deep fry them for a snack to go with your martini :-)

                                                                1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                  c oliver RE: DiningDiva May 28, 2011 10:12 AM

                                                                  Now THAT sounds great! Could you elaborate please? TIA

                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                    DiningDiva RE: c oliver May 28, 2011 10:15 AM

                                                                    You can do them battered or unbattered. I'm talking about the big caperberries with the stems still on them. If going the battered route, use something light, like a tempura batter. Heat your oil to about 375* (very hot) toss them in for about 30 seconds, remove, drain, salt and eat.

                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                      c oliver RE: DiningDiva May 28, 2011 10:18 AM

                                                                      Mine aren't as big as the first ones I bought but are stem-on. If I do unbattered, are the instructions the same Should I use peanut oil? We have an insane amount of leftovers that we're making dinner out of. The least I could do is actually "cook" something :)

                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                        DiningDiva RE: c oliver May 28, 2011 11:15 AM

                                                                        Yes, it only takes a few seconds. Doesn't really matter if they're battered or not. They get a thin crisp outer shell from the frying but remain kind of soft (kind of like hummus) in the center. You may have to experiment around with time to get it right. You can use peanut oil, though I think a neutral oil like grapeseed is proabably better

                                                            2. re: c oliver
                                                              Rella RE: c oliver Jun 3, 2011 07:24 PM

                                                              My capers that I've been buying for years actually sit for years in between usage. I always think that perhaps I will need them for something. This group of postings here will entice me to buy yet another jar of capers at Costco.

                                                          2. a
                                                            audreyhtx1 RE: ThePiedPiper May 28, 2011 10:42 AM

                                                            They are great added to any tomato-based pasta sauce and probably others too.

                                                            I add them to my grilled peppers (peeled) and/or grilled eggplant. I add capers, olives, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Then toss and chill. Makes a wonderful antipasta on bread.

                                                            If I make an pasta sauce out of smoked salmon I always add capers.

                                                            And, easily, with smoked salmon and cream cheese on bagels. You gotta have the capers!!!!!

                                                            1. iL Divo RE: ThePiedPiper May 28, 2011 11:19 AM

                                                              Although I bought another jar from TJ's and saved a bit on the price as our Von's was overpriced to me, I will keep them in the frig but what to do with them on a regular basis?

                                                              I don't have much of an idea [and yes, my shield is up] I'm not all that fond of them.
                                                              They are a must in this recipe though and I adore Chicken Piccata, moreover so does my husband.


                                                              Still waiting for reply from GF about her recipe. I'm sure my memory is correct as I was stumped when she told it to me. Waiting just to make sure though.

                                                              1. k
                                                                kamper RE: ThePiedPiper May 29, 2011 06:57 AM

                                                                My favorite way to use capers is in Tunisian brik. There's quite a few different ways to make brik, but my favorite is capers, Parmesan, pepper, and a whole egg fried in an egg roll wrapper (which I get at the local Arabic grocery store - they are different than the egg roll wrappers at the grocery store). I can expand if you're interested. Yum.

                                                                1. n
                                                                  nyxpooka RE: ThePiedPiper May 29, 2011 08:09 AM

                                                                  Make Chicken Piccata! (there are some good recipes online, but Giada's has waaaay to much lemon for me! *pucker*

                                                                  1. Veggo RE: ThePiedPiper May 29, 2011 03:56 PM

                                                                    My Veracruz shrimp stew tonight has 1/3 of a jar of small capers. It tastes really good.

                                                                    1. mamachef RE: ThePiedPiper May 29, 2011 04:25 PM

                                                                      Mash 1/4. cup capers with an 8-oz. block of cream cheese, and blend in 1/4 t. salt and 1 t. Beau Monde seasoning; use to stuff celery or cherry tomatoes.

                                                                      1. h
                                                                        handquilt RE: ThePiedPiper Jun 3, 2011 04:30 PM

                                                                        I LOVE capers! I eat a teaspoonful right out of the jar. We add them to lemon sauces for chicken or wild turkey piccatta. They are delicious in a marsala pan sauce with venison butterfly chops or strap back. They add that little something extra to a pot of spaghetti sauce.

                                                                        My favorite way to have them is to toss sliced potatoes, fresh green beans, sliced carrots, vidalia onion, with olive oil, oregano, capers, and garlic. Pour this mixture onto a large piece of foil. Create a foil packet by sealing edges well. Toss on the grill. YUMMY!

                                                                        I fry some egg whites in

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: handquilt
                                                                          DiningDiva RE: handquilt Jun 3, 2011 05:10 PM

                                                                          That veggie packet sounds great, will have to steal your idea

                                                                          1. re: DiningDiva
                                                                            handquilt RE: DiningDiva Jun 4, 2011 03:54 AM

                                                                            Grilling them this way is our go -to for potatoes in the summer months. You can easily change it up with what's fresh from the garden or farmers market. You can add chunks of sausages or kielbasi. Have fun with it!

                                                                        2. s
                                                                          Sailing77 RE: ThePiedPiper Jun 3, 2011 07:04 PM

                                                                          This is a winner and my guests always rave. I reduce the sauce a bit more though...

                                                                          Grilled Halibut with Tomato and Caper Sauce

                                                                          This is a simple dish that Ina Garten makes for summer parties. The sauce can be made well in advance, and the fish grilled at the last minute. The recipe is also delicious served at room temperature.

                                                                          ACTIVE: TOTAL TIME: SERVINGS: 8
                                                                          FAST MAKE-AHEAD Ingredients

                                                                          1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
                                                                          2 cups finely chopped onions
                                                                          2 cups chopped fennel
                                                                          2 garlic cloves, minced
                                                                          Two 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, drained
                                                                          Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
                                                                          1/4 cup dry white wine
                                                                          1/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
                                                                          1/4 cup capers, drained and coarsely chopped
                                                                          1 cup coarsely chopped basil, plus small leaves for garnish
                                                                          2 tablespoons unsalted butter
                                                                          8 skinless halibut fillets (6 to 7 ounces each), about 1 inch thick
                                                                          In a large deep skillet, heat 1/3 cup of olive oil. Add the onions and fennel and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
                                                                          Add the tomatoes to the skillet and break them up with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and cook over low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the wine, stock and capers and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir the chopped basil and the butter into the sauce.
                                                                          Light a grill. Brush the halibut fillets with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Spoon the sauce onto a large deep platter, set the fillets on the sauce and garnish with basil leaves. Serve hot or at room temperature.

                                                                          Make Ahead
                                                                          The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently before serving.

                                                                          1. Rmis32 RE: ThePiedPiper Jun 3, 2011 08:01 PM

                                                                            A variation on your lemon caper sauce -
                                                                            Saute a chicken breast & top half of it with capers and the other with coarsely chopped Kalamata olives & drizzle with a lemon parsley sauce.

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Rmis32
                                                                              c oliver RE: Rmis32 Jun 3, 2011 08:06 PM

                                                                              I'd be more inclined to put the capers and olives in the sauce.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                Rmis32 RE: c oliver Jun 3, 2011 08:55 PM

                                                                                You could certainly do that, but I like the contrast between the capers and olives.

                                                                                1. re: Rmis32
                                                                                  Veggo RE: Rmis32 Jun 3, 2011 09:59 PM

                                                                                  In a good Veracruz sauce, the salty olives and capers are on the same team, contrasting with the sweet from onions, sweet peppers, plum tomatoes, and golden raisins into a delicious symphony.

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                                                    toodie jane RE: Veggo Jun 5, 2011 07:09 PM

                                                                                    raisins in Veracruz sauce??

                                                                              2. re: Rmis32
                                                                                Veggo RE: Rmis32 Jun 3, 2011 08:14 PM

                                                                                Rmis32, I noticed the similarities between Sailing77's recipe and iterations of Mexican Veracruz sauce, and your suggestion of olives closes the gap even more. The rapid merging / confluence of the best of the world's cooking styles, and the availability of worldwide ingredients almost anywhere, is intriguing.

                                                                              Show Hidden Posts