I had no idea what a caper was until about four years ago. We were visiting my parents for the holidays in Canada and my step mom rustled me into preparing an appetizer for guests to graze upon. It was a smoked salmon and caper berry toast. I tasted one caper to satisfy my curiosity. I previously had never touched, or smelled these little guys, at least for what my memory serves me. Surprised, these were not like olives as I expected, they were much more graceful than olives. (Can you tell that I’m not exactly on olive fan? Which is weird because olive oil is tha bomb!)
Since that inaugural meeting of capers, they have continued to intrigue me. I recreated the smoked salmon appetizer at home a few times (and it was just as delicious as mom’s) but fell short of experimenting with it further. Capers faded out of the forefront of my cravings du jour, eventually they were totally out of my life.
Then we traveled to Canyon Lake and I chose the Italian restaurant in town for dinner. Little did I know that I was about to reunited with my BFF from years ago. She looked different, slightly plumper than last time we chatted in my kitchen, how old friends tend to change. Caper now had long golden locks of angel hair, glistening in the fading sunlight. White wine butter suited her well. Over a glass of wine we caught up, how old friends do.
I invited Caper over for dinner. I dressed up chicken and pasta just for her, since I know she likes it. Laughing and crying, just being silly, really, it was a blast. The happiness of finally finding Caper again was great. Caper left and we were all pleased to have entertained her, hoping there would be another chance to dine together again.
ring ring… ring ring… “Of course, you’re always welcome, Caper!” I grab the calendar off the kitchen wall. “Yes, that’s perfect. See you then!” I hung up, giddy that Caper was coming to dinner again and she loved my pasta dish. This time, I thought a twist on the original picatta would work.
Here is what I prepared for my BFF, Caper:
- angel hair pasta, or other thin pasta
- 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 of a large onion (I used yellow for sweetness), diced
- 2 Tbsp capers
- good olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 3 slices of bacon, crisped and crumbled
- leftover roatiserie chicken, diced (about 1 cup)
Start the water for the pasta. When it boils, add salt (don’t worry most of it ends up down the drain) and pasta. Cook according to the package, if you are using fresh I envy you and it will take no time at all to cook.
In a large sauté pan, crisp the bacon then remove it from the pan. Sauté the onion, pepper and tomatoes with a little added olive oil. When the onion starts to turn color, add the remaining ingredients. Toss in the drained pasta and add another splash of oil for flavour and to keep the pasta loose.
Serve with pecorino cheese to taste.