Foraging Rome - The Great Caper Leaf Caper

November 14, 2011 - 2:12 pm 5 Comments

Capers plant growing on Rome's ruins

Rome’s archeological sites are rich in history, as well as food. Even in a city like Caput Mundi you can treat yourself to foraged food if you just know where to look.

I had noticed the caper plants growing on a lot of the ancient walls, but until I learned of a Cypriot delicacy, a story told by Katie Parla, it never occurred to me to touch for them, let alone cook with them. I mean, if you want capers you’d buy it in the market, right? Well, it’s not really that simple. Sure, you’ll find both caper berries, the big elongated green fruits, and caper buds, the beginning flower buds, at the market. But this was not what I was looking for. I was hunting for the leaves. After a bit of experimentation, and using a simple pickling process, I transformed the ubiquitous caper plant into a tangy side dish. The pickled leaves can be used to season meat, fish or vegetables or even make up a substantial ingredient in a Mediterranean salad. Once pickled the leaves will keep for a long time in the refrigerator. When in season you can use the flower buds and caper berries in a similar way by applying the same procedure as for the leaves.

Continue to the whole post and the recipes at Parla Food

Pickled caper leaves


    5 Responses to “Foraging Rome - The Great Caper Leaf Caper”

  1. Katie Parla Says:

    Thanks so much for contributing your fantastic post and amazing photos! i hope this thing catches on.

  2. Laura @ hip pressure cooking Says:

    Hello neighbor (almost.. I’m in Anzio)!

    Stinging Nettles, Mushrooms, Blackberries, Wild Asparagus and unguarded fruit trees.. yes. But I never heard of these caper leaves.

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled.. maybe they like ruins. Maybe Nerone’s old villa should have a few of these!



  3. Sarah May Says:

    Lazio is the best for foraging. I had no idea that THOSE were capers! I live in the Castelli and go foraging all the time-lately for asparagus before my neighbor gets them. It is so satisfying to know that we can’t be independent and find or prodcue our own food. It always tastes better, too!!

  4. Lorie Prokup Says:

    We ate caper leaves frequently when in Rhodes, Greece. They were always in a cucumber and tomato salad which added a wonderful burst of flavor. Wish we could buy these in the states.

  5. Capers - One of My Favorite Ingredients | Dreaming In Italian Says:

    [...] Foraging Rome - The Great Caper Leaf Caper (Caput Mundi Cibus) [...]

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