We recently talked about the Oldways Symposium that took us to the island of Pantelleria.  While there we almost ate our weight in locally grown capers — enjoying traditional dishes such as caponata, caper paste, and ciaki ciuka.  But that didn’t stop us from coming home and immediately diving into our own culinary capers!

Below are a few culinary delights that highlight this wonderful ingredient.

Caper-Potato Dip
The flavors in this tangy dip will be at their best if you make it one day ahead of time.

It will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.  Serve with whole grain crackers or raw veggies.



2 cups fresh whole-wheat bread crumbs
2-4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
½ cup rinsed, drained Pantelleria capers
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup mashed potatoes

Put the bread crumbs in a bowl, cover with water, and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain in a strainer and press down on them with a large kitchen spoon to remove most of the water.

Transfer the crumbs to the bowl of a food processor, add the garlic, and blend for about 1 minute to form a thick paste. Add the capers, lemon juice, and walnuts, and blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the mashed potato. (The mixture will become unpleasantly gluey of you blend in the potato with the food processor.) Chill overnight. Thin the dip with a tablespoon or two of water before serving if it seems too thick.

Makes 3 cups

Pantescan Salad



8 small red potatoes (peeled if large, with skin on if small) 
5 ripe tomatoes
1 red onion
1 ounce Pantelleria capers, rinsed
10 black olives
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Boil the potatoes.  As the potatoes cook, assemble the sliced tomatoes, the onion sliced into rings, the olives, and the capers.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and oregano.  When the potatoes are cooked through, slice, add them to the mixture, and serve.

Serves 4

Mediterranean Flavored Swordfish

4 fresh swordfish steaks, each  ¾ inch thick
Salt to taste
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
Black olives, pitted
Pantelleria capers, rinsed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Lay the swordfish steaks in a baking dish and season with salt to taste. Cover the fish with the tomatoes, olives and capers. Bake for 20 minutes.

Combine the extra-virgin olive oil with the parsley.

Remove the fish from the oven and season with the olive oil-parsley mixture.

Serves 4

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