Tag Archives: capers

Black Olive, Anchovy and Caper Tapenade

I’ve always loved tapenade, but I never LOVED it until I made this recipe, which combines my love of puttanesca flavors into a thick, dark purple dip/spread that is delicious with toasted bread or pita or chips.

With Memorial Day this weekend, I figured this would be a great dish to make for entertaining guests or enjoying a warm evening in the garden.

Ina Garten’s recipe packs a punch with these robust flavors: anchovy, capers, black olives and lemon.

And the best part is that it’s easy to just combine the ingredients and mix!

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Black Olive Tapenade


  • 1/2 pound good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 baguette, sliced and toasted
Combine the olives, capers, anchovies and garlic in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse 3 times. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, thyme and parsley and process until chunky.

Spoon into a serving bowl and serve with toasted bread, chips, pita triangles or pita chips. And some crisp veggies: carrots, celery, etc.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo


Soft-shell Crabs with Garlic-Caper Sauce

Soft-shell crabs are something I didn’t know existed until they became a popular deep-fried filling in sushi. I loved that rich, crunchy texture and meaty flavor wrapped inside nori. But it wasn’t until I moved to the Atlantic coast that I began seeing soft-shell crab served in more diverse settings. For example, a departure from the deep-fried preparation.

Lightly sauteed and then served with a buttery garlic and caper sauce, this recipe presents crabs with the crunch and juice that the deep-frying method offers, but without the overwhelming county-fair-like batter. I felt I could taste the crabs better when cooked this way, shells and all!

On a recent long weekend at Manteo (Outer Banks, N.C.), we visited the fish monger for fresh seafood. The soft-shell crabs had just come off the boat and were still squirming around in their pretty blue shells. We ordered two large ones for $2 each and the monger cleaned them for us.

Of course, when I took them home, I removed that yellow stuff from the gill-like area, pulled out the bubble thing and squeezed out more yellow guts. It’s all very technical, but I remembered watching something once on the Food Network about it. But of course, most people just eat everything.

Here are my nicely cleaned crabs.

Then I was ready to cook! I prepared this with a side of couscous and seared sea scallops.

Adapted from Emeril.

Softshell Crabs with Garlic-Caper Sauce


  • 2 soft-shell crabs, cleaned and patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Few chive blades, chopped

Season crabs with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour, shaking off excess. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and saute the crabs until soft, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the crabs and set aside. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the capers and white wine. Cook until wine has reduced to about 1/2. Swirl in the butter and the chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, I put some arugula salad on the plate, then the crabs and finished with the rich and fragrant butter sauce. Really, we poured that sauce over everything. And then took our plates and wine to the back deck of our beautiful beach farm house on the cove (a friends’ – not ours!).

The crab shells were crispy but still easy to much. The sauce was so flavorful – capers add a nice salty bite to counter the butter and garlic. It was quite chic for a Southern delicacy!

It was a great way to spend the first night in a long weekend of decadence.

Enjoy your summer beach cooking, friends! xoxo

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

I’m in the middle of a blog purge. Going through old blog posts and deleting the ones with bad pictures, or no pictures, and updating my favorites. Here lies the latter.

Smoked salmon eggs Benedict is a wonderfully decadent breakfast or brunch item that I try to enjoy once per year. Don’t even ask if I make my own Hollandaise sauce (I don’t).

It is an adaptation of a breakfast item I had all the time when I lived in Oregon, at The Victorian Cafe in Bend. This place is famous for its eggs Benedict, notably this beauty.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Ingredients (for two):

  • 2 English muffins, split
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon (the flaked kind, not the lox kind)
  • 1 package dried Hollandaise sauce, (you’ll need milk and butter for this)
  • 1/4 red onion sliced thin
  • 1 T capers, divided
  • Paprika, for garnish

Heat broiler for muffins and set large pan of water to boil on stove. When water heats to a rolling boil, add a dash of vinegar, if you have it, and reduce heat a bit. Drop in eggs one at a time and swirl water to keep whites together. Gently nudge eggs to keep them from sticking on the bottom. Cook until desired runnyness – I like mine very runny in the middle, about 5 min.

While the eggs cook, prepare the sauce according to package instructions (will take just a few minutes) and toast your muffins under the broiler.

When eggs are done, drain on paper towels and cover with foil to keep warm. Now, quickly assemble: On each muffin half, place a few slices of onion, then salmon, then egg. Next, pour the sauce all over it and then sprinkle a few capers on top. Finish with a dusting of paprika.

Deeeelish! The Hollandaise has a nice lemony kick to it, and the capers add a salty bite, along with the onion and smoky salmon. When you cut into the egg, the yolk will run out and swirl with the sauce in an oh-so happy way.

The English muffin is just there to soak up all the yummy juices.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chicken Vesuvio

Chicken Vesuvio is a whole lot like one of my favorite chicken dishes in the world: chicken piccata. A light dusting of flour, salt and pepper sends the chicken cutlets into a hot pan where they brown slightly on each side. Then, you make a lemony sauce rich with wine, smooth with butter and punctuated with caper berries.

For this dish, however, you add potatoes to the mix, along with fresh rosemary and oregano. After browning the potatoes, you nestle your par-cooked chicken back in and let the flavors steam together with wine and chicken broth. The potatoes and chicken come out tender and wonderful.

I found this recipe in my inbox. As you all should, I subscribe to Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s “The Splendid Table” weekly newsletter, which always gives me tasty cooking ideas and helpful tips to being a whiz in the kitchen. And as my new roommate said, “Heck, even I could make this!”

I changed the recipe a bit, adding the capers instead of peas, because I simply adore a good caper berry.

Chicken Vesuvio

Serves 2


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded between plastic wrap to 1/2 inch thick (mine held 3)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 large red potatoes or one small bag of baby reds cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc)
  • 2 T caper berries, drained
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Juice from half a lemon

1. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working with 1 breast at a time, dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Carefully lay the chicken in the skillet and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping the breasts halfway through. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

3. Wipe out the skillet with a wad of paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, rosemary, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and wine, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle the chicken, along with any accumulated juices, into the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the chicken is just done, 7-12 min., flipping halfway through.

4. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is thickened slightly, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to the platter with the chicken. Off the heat, stir in the capers, butter, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes.

Serve with extra wine “on the side.” Enjoy, friends! xoxo