Tuesday, October 27, 2009

002.Roland Tiny Capers in Salt

Produced in Morocco
Distributed in New York, New York, USA
$2.97, before taxes, for 2.65 ounces
Ingredients: capers, salt

The caper is a bush, the flowers of which we consume as capers, the berries of which were once fashionable as cocktail garnishes. I used to drink them with Ketel One vodka, to which they were wed in some marketing ploy.

Capers typically come in small, cylindrical jars, soaked in brine. I've had other capers preserved in salt, but the only brand I've found at Reasor's is Roland. I don't swear to them being better than other capers - I don't know if a one caper can trump another, say, the way an olive oil can, or a vinegar - but I do swear by capers preserved in salt versus brine.

I learned to like them, if I recall, from one of my pals at Mecca Coffee Company. (I'd provide a link but, thankfully, a visit to Mecca requires other transport.) I learned to employ them by reading Fergus Henderson's "The Whole Beast."

The "Beast" doesn't specify capers in salt versus brine, it just celebrates capers as something other than artsy garnish for veal piccata, and so I've come to know them for what they are, which are wee nibs of salty wonder, considering they are nothing more than tiny, tight flower buds.

Capers lead the charge in Henderson's green sauce, an English staple that accompanies roast meat, hot or cold. From a recipe called "Green Sauce and Its Possibilities":

"You have five wonderful things:

Capers
Anchovies
Extra-virgin olive oil
Garlic
Parsley

"There is no end to the possibilities ..."

Capers also flavor Fergus' Lamb's Brains, Endive and Shallots; his Sorrel, Chicory, and Crispy Ear Salad; his Roast Bone Marrow and Parsley Salad.

Talk about your possibilities.

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