Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fried caper & pistachio green beans

Time to top your green beans with something delicious! My mother sent me these huge salted capers from Sicily--they are like three times the size of the usual teeny caper specks you see packed up in brine. They are like the salt cured, mammoth in-bred cousins of those capers. I wanted to feature them somehow because they seemed so special, so this is what happened. The fried capers turn into little crispy salt bombs and taste completely amazing.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil to very hot in a pan, then toss in a handful of large capers. Regular, small capers will work fine too; these just look more dramatic. Drain them well on crumpled paper towels. By the way, when you need to drain something that was fried in oil, crumple up the paper first. Otherwise it won't stay crisp--it will just reabsorb the oil out of the flat paper. In whatever bowl you will be serving the beans in, mix the juice from 1 lemon with good olive oil, salt and pepper. Now mince up a tablespoon of parsley and a handful of pistachios and set them aside. Bring a pan of water to a boil and cook your green beans just a few minutes. They're done when they're bright green and still a little crisp. Or whenever they taste the way you like them. Drain the beans and add them along with the parsley to the bowl with the lemon-olive oil mixture and toss well. Then top with the fried capers and pistachios.
By the way, Ali brought a soy-based chocolate pudding over with fresh berries for dessert and many people in attendance appreciated it ("a gritty delight!"). I thought it looked really pretty.

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