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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ALCAPARRA WITH LEMON CAPER SAUCE RECIPE

CAPPARIS SPINOSA VAR. 
INERMIS IN THE GARDEN.
Photo by: smgrowers.com
Hisp Ar. kappara, L. Capparis spinosa, Ar. kapar, nuwār al-kappar, fr. kápparise, Fr. cáprier, Eng. caper. It is thought that the word is derived from Arabic, which in turn comes from Greek. The caper is a button flower growing on a thorny bush about 1 m. high with heart shaped leaves. It is indigenous of the Mediterranean, growing, throughout Andalusia, especially in La Alpujarra, and other warm climates. Only the buds, collected in April during the morning after the dew has dried, are use in cookery. They are pickled in salt and vinegar after they wither. The drying process takes about three weeks. In Al-Andalus and Alexandria (Egypt), the most famous were produced, which were cured in salt brine. Adding capers and the flowers to soft cheeses gives them acidity, which is thought to help maintain lactic fermentation in uncured cheeses. They have been used to accelerate the process of curdling milk. They are added to other dishes like sardines and smoked salmon to enhance the flavor. To extract capers from a narrow jar use a vegetable scraper. The Spanish proverb is, ‘After curds, eat capers, and you will go directly to heaven.’ Further capers symbolized potency, lust and luck. Medicinally, the bitter root and bark are drunk various times a day to increase urination. It was said that they purged all the humors. The skin of the root is chewed before meals to increase the appetite. The roots were collected in the autumn and dried. [ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; Villena/Calero. 2002:23a; and Villena/Navarro. 1879:44]

LEMON CAPER SAUCE FOR BROILED OR GRILLED SALMON OR TUNA STEAKS FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE MEDIEVAL SPANISH CHEF:

Ingredients
2 tsp capers
4 tbsp butter
1garlic clove
2 tbsp lemon
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 sprigs of parsley chopped

Melt butter. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the parsley, and simmer 1/2 minute. Add parsley, remove from heat and serve with fish.

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