SINFUL FRIED CAPERS - the blog
Have you tasted fried capers yet? Tender and gently crisp, seeming almost pillowy with an intense flavor profile. These little morsels are nutty and briny, and add an addictive finishing touch. Let's put fried capers on everything! The best part is that it takes only a few minutes to prepare them, yet they add such a wonderful, unexpected dimension—rich and sinful—at the same time. I have sprinkled them over dishes such as chopped salads, charred sliced steak, grilled chicken thighs with roasted lemon slices, sautéed Brussels sprout wedges, and roasted beets with melted goat cheese.
(recipe yields 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup capers
2 tablespoon vegetable oil such as grapeseed or sunflower oil
sea salt, to taste
1) Rinse capers in a sieve and transfer to a small bowl. Add enough water to cover capers by 2 inches and swirl them in the water around for 1 minute. Drain capers, then pat very dry between kitchen paper towels.
2) Heat oil in a 1-quart-sized saucepan over high heat until it registers 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a kitchen thermometer.
3) Fry capers until golden, 30 to 45 seconds, stirring with a wooden spoon until they brown and open up like flowers. Drain capers through the same sieve from before, catching all the oil in a bowl. This can be used to flavor vegetables, pasta or polenta (see recipe below).
5) Transfer capers to kitchen paper towel to dry off excess oil. Salt capers to taste.
Polenta with Fried Polenta
(recipe makes 4 portions)
6 cups water
1 teaspoons salt, add more to taste
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup yellow, fine cornmeal
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or the oil that was used frying the capers)
Black pepper to taste from the mill
1) In a 2-quart-sized pot, bring 6 cups of water to boil on high heat.
2) Add salt, bay leaves and garlic, then gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.
3) Stir in olive oil (or caper frying oil) and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
4) Serve polenta in a shallow bowl and sprinkle fried capers over it.
Chef's Note: For a vital flavor profile add chopped parsley, and for extra richness add shavings of Parmesan over the polenta just before serving