If you’re familiar with the caper only in the form of the briny bud that is a sine qua non in salsa verde, anchovy pizza and remoulade, you’re missing out on a wonderful delicacy—pickled caper leaves.
These tangy cured leaves of the caper plant are less salty than the buds, and lend a citrusy undertone to such foods as Greek country salad, dakos (barley rusks with tomato, olive oil and feta), fish sauces, and cabbage slaws. It gives an astringent, piquant note to herb pestos and pasta dishes. And you’ll be amazed at what it does to the humble spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino or how well it works as a garnish to fried squid.
“From Grandma’s Kitchen Cupboard”, is probably best known in Greece for its hand-dried pasta laced with local herbs and for its marvelous preservative-free spoon sweets. But these caper leaves, a specialty of the Cyclades, are a real find. In my mind, they’re much better than the Italian and Spanish versions, with a bit more crunch to the leaves and somewhat less salty.
Josephine began production in 1996, with her own capital and without state subsidies. All her products are made with local ingredients on the basis of traditional recipes and without preservatives, in relatively small quantities (this is not going to be the big export hit of the year I’m afraid).
“From Grandma’s Kitchen Cupboard” products are available at good delicatessens throughout Greece, including the Mediterranean Food Store (Το Παντοπωλείο της Μεσογειακής Διατροφής) on Sofokleous 1 (210 3628738) I’m not sure how available these products are outside Greece. But If you find yourself on Tinos, the facilities are open for a visit.
Oh, and I saved the best till last. Use a leaf or two instead of an olive in a dry martini. Heavenly!