Food & Drink

Recipe: Deep-fried capers


Not exactly the most elegant of garnishes, but these salty little fuckers pack a mighty punch. Just forget that they can look a bit like rabbit droppings and simply pop the nuggets of saline pleasure between your lips and you won’t be disappointed.

I first came across them at a restaurant in Bristol and I have been dreaming about them ever since. In the review I explained that they ‘pop into a salty explosion of joy in your mouth’, which with hindsight could do without sounding like a reference to a man’s happy moment (even if they are slightly on the orgasmic side). Regardless, I have been trying to recreate them at home, experimenting with baking and shallow frying only to find myself still yearning for that crunch. This combination of deep-frying and then baking is the closest I have come.

They taste amazing with cured meats or as a replacement to pickles for your burger, but they can go with absolutely anything. I’m having mine tonight on top of a roasted carrot, chickpea and feta salad.

Flavourless oil such as vegetable (depends on the size of your saucepan, but by rule of thumb enough to fill her up about an inch deep)
Plain flour

Pat the capers dry with some kitchen towel. The more moisture you get out from them, the less violently they will spit oil at you as they fry. Put the flour into a shallow dish and roll the capers in it, before pulling them out with a slotted spoon and dusting off the excess.

Turn the oven on to 180°C/Gas mark 4.

I don’t have a deep fat dryer, so I just used a saucepan. Pour in the oil – enough to cover the capers and give them room to bubble about and party in the pan.

Turn the heat onto medium-high. Give the oil a couple of minutes to heat up, then drop in a tester caper to see what happens (the oil won’t bubble very obviously until you throw something in). If the oil is hot enough, the caper should go absolutely crazy; if it just sits there, turn the heat up a tiny bit and leave for a few more moments.

Without overcrowding the pan, carefully pour in the rest of the capers. Watch out for the spitting oil, as some of the capers will pop open and somehow direct the oil directly to the tenderest parts of your skin. Naturally, these tricksy, cunning capers are the tastiest.

Leave the capers to fry for a few minutes until golden brown and crispy, before putting them onto some kitchen roll to soak up some of the excess oil.

Sling them onto a baking tray and bake them in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them, as they tend to burn quite quickly.

Then just wait for that salty explosion of joy in your mouth…

Follow me on Twitter: @Jess_Hardiman


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