Cooking with capers: Spicy buds from the Mediterranean

Flavor through fermentation: Only the salt turns the buds of the caper bush into the popular ingredient that they are for many kitchens.
Image: Claus Eckert

When the white-violet flower unfolds, it's already too late: capers have to be picked long before - in order to become a special aroma donor with the help of lots of salt.

AEvery year a shrub is honored on the Salina. Or better: its fine buds. Because they are the main export product of the small island on the north-western tip of Sicily and are used in kitchens all over Italy - and far beyond. Strictly speaking, it's not about one bush, but a whole lot of bushes, the caper bushes, for which the island is famous - the majority of Italian capers come from Salina. And correspondingly passionately, the barely 2,500 inhabitants of the island celebrate their "Festa del Cappero", the big caper festival, on the piazza of Pollara every year on the first Sunday in June.

Then in the middle of the village, on the square in front of Church St. Onofrio, a dance floor set up, a chapel brought over from a neighboring island, everything that can be prepared and refined with capers prepared and pre-cooked for days - and then celebrated and served exuberantly all day and all night: tomato and caper salad , chicken salad with caper mayonnaise, pasta with capers, pizza with capers, lamb with capers, tuna with caper sauce, peppers with capers and even the traditional Christmas panettone - with capers.

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