Capers, the flower bud of a Mediterranean shrub are a very versatile ingredient, condiment, flavor, and tradition. They are vibrant, aromatic with just the right balance of salt.
Many people prefer medium capers because they have more impressive visual appeal and a milder flavor. Caper flower buds grow quickly, and they are small enough to be classified this size for only a very short time. Varieties are selected for flavor and for the roundness and firmness of the buds.
Most capers are packed in vinegar, and this imparts a "pickled" flavor to them - as a result, the tangy finish tends to dominate the flavor of the aromatic caper. Mustapha cures his medium capers in salt brine, and then packs them in saltwater with just a tiny amount of vinegar. The result is a deep aromatic, salty flavor with a hint of a tang on the finish.
These brined capers are perfect for use with rich foods such as salmon or in rich sauces - if they are too salty for your palate you may soak them in cold water.
The caper bush is a spiny, straggling vine-like shrub that grows well in nutrient poor, gravelly soils, and is often found growing in crevices between rocks. Capers are the flower buds from this plant. A freshly picked caper is a bland little thing. That fabulously vibrant, piquant flavor comes from the curing process.
Their salty, aromatic flavor makes them an important ingredient to sauces like tartar, ravigote and rèmoulade and most tapenade recipes. There is no better condiment for smoked or cured salmon.