I was making my roast cauliflower, caper and yellow raisin salad today. As I reached in my fridge for my giant bottle of Capers I saw a phrase on the bottle that I have consistently ignored, “Non-Pareilles” that I have read on many different brands of capers. Having just returned from Paris where my limited knowledge of the French language had been restored it finally dawned on me that “Non-Pareilles” was not some type of flower blossom or variety of caper, but the phrase, “Not parallel” or translated into better English, “has no equal.”
I don’t know how these capers got this high class branding but it made me interested in learning more about capers. What I found out was that the smaller the caper the better the flavor, supposedly. Since we are caper aficionados in my house we might beg to differ since we really like caper berries that are giant forms of capers with stems. But then I got to thinking that I have only ever eaten small, medium and berry sized capers and enjoyed them all.
I don’t have any medium sized capers in the house so I could not find a jar that said they were “Non-Pareilles” or not, but I am assuming those medium sized ones were just plain ‘ole capers- equal in everyway.
Why I am going down this rabbit hole is it started to make me mad that the small things were considered to “have no equal” when clearly every jar of the small caper that was labeled as “non-pareilles” was equal to another. Why was small better? Sometimes being larger is considered better, as in jumbo shrimp. Those little tiny salad shrimp have virtually no flavor in comparison.
I fully understand when sometimes something that is smaller tastes better because it may not be as tough, but just because something is small does not make it better. I want to stand up for all the big things on earth and say they have no equal also. Really, everything and everyone is unique and deserves to be considered special and not just in French. So you medium sized capers I declare you to be special too and I would do it in Spanish if I could, especially since that is where I have eaten you.
No matter your size, nothing is equal to you be you a flower blossom or a person!
YUM! This is now a new favorite. I created this salad as a way of using up smaller amounts of vegetables. The creation of half roasted vegetables with their more complex flavors, raw vegetables with their crunch, capers and feta cheese for it’s saltiness and vinegar for the tang makes a really satisfying dish.
Four cups of roasted vegetables – I used Eggplant and zucchini, but you could use carrots, yellow squash, fennel, or even sweet potatoes
1 pint of cherry tomatoes –halved
½ small red onion chopped
25 fresh mint leaves chopped
3 T. capers
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 T. rice vinegar
1 T. olive oil
2 packets of Splenda
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut the vegetables you are going to roast in uniform sizes about the sixe of a cherry tomato. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with pam. Spread the vegetables in a single layer. Roast in oven until browned and soft about 30 mins.
Remove from oven and let cool. Mix the vinegar, oil and Splenda together. Toss the cooled roasted vegetables with the tomatoes, red onion, mint, capers and dressing in a bowl. Add the feta and toss gently. Can be served at room temperature or chilled.
I love cauliflower, but the rest of my family thinks they do not, so I am always attempting to find ways they might change their minds. Unfortunately I made the calorie laden cauliflower au gratin once and so that is the high bar mark for a vegetable they would rather not have at all.
Today’s recipe is a much healthier use that also encompasses sweet, tart and salty flavors with a little crunch.
1 head of cauliflower broken into bite size florets
¼ c. golden raisins
2 T. capers drained of brine
2 T. chopped green herbs – I used chives, Italian parsley and thyme because that is what I had in the garden, but you could use any combo you like
2T. Sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper
¼ c. toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 400º
Cover a cookie sheet with foil and spray with pam. Place the cauliflower in a single layer on the cookie sheet and place in the oven to roast for about 30 minutes it should get a little brown.
Mix everything else except the pecans together in a small bowl and let flavors marry together.
Roughly chop the toasted pecans.
When cauliflower is done. Place it on a platter and sprinkle the vinegar mixture over it and then the pecans. Serve.
You can also eat it cold, but save the pecans and put on right before you eat it.
I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they just have more flavor than chicken breasts, but feel free to use either. I place the chicken between two pieces of plastic wrap on a cutting board and using a meat mallet I pounded the chicken to about half an inch thick.
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs – pounded
3 T. Wondra – or all purpose flour
Salt and pepper
1 15 oz. can artichoke hearts- cut in half
1 lemon’s worth of juice and zest
2 T. capers
After pounding the chicken, sprinkle both sides with Wondra, or flour and salt and pepper.
Heat a non-stick fry pan on high heat and spray with Pam; turn the heat down just a little. Place only as much chicken in at a time so that the cutlets don’t touch each other. Cook on one side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip over and brown the next side.
Put the chicken in a shallow pan in a 300º oven to finish the cooking for about 15 minutes.
Once you have cooked all the chicken. Put the artichoke hearts, capers, lemons and lemon zest in the same fry pan without cleaning it out of any browned bits left from cooking the chicken.
Heat the artichoke hearts on medium high heat for about 5 minutes and pour over the chicken.
Variation to make a more brothy version:
Cook the chicken in a Dutch oven. After browning the chicken deglaze the pan with a cup of white wine. Add chicken back to the pan and add the artichoke hearts, lemon juice, zest capers and 1 cup of chicken broth. Bring pot to a boil and reduce to simmer cooking for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.