Inspiration from Meghan

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Curried Caper Tahini Dressing


Guest post by Aletheia Zoe Chiang of La Fille Naturelle.

I first discovered capers at a family friend’s.  There we were, gathered around the dinner table, enjoying our meal together, when it suddenly occurred to me that I happened to be eating the best salad I’d ever had in my life.

Now, don’t get me wrong–I’ve had salad before.  But something about the dressing in this curried salad was strikingly different: there was a sharp piquant flavour to it, and a particular Mediterranean olive- or mustard-like aroma.  Curious, I peered closer.  That’s when I noticed these little green beads, each one about the size of a corn kernel, and they started to ask me questions.  They started to ask me questions like: What am I? Where am I from? Where can you purchase me so that you may eat me forever and ever, Amen?

Never one to ignore important questions about food, I set out on my valiant mission—inspired and encouraged—to solve the mystery of the curious caper, once and for all.

Indeed, capers, or Capparis sp. are of plant origin—the capers that we purchase in tins and jars in grocery stores today are actually the pickled immature flower buds of a larger flowering plant, that is believed to originate from the dry regions in West or Central Asia.  By contrast, caperberries—each one about the size of an olive—are actually semi-mature fruit, and are often preserved with their stems.  In Europe especially, capers are graded based on the size and diameter, with the smaller ones being the most highly prized, and therefore, the most expensive.

In taste, being described as similar to the olive (with mustard and black pepper), capers make an eclectically delicious addition to pasta sauces, pizza, meats, fish, or salads.  Medicinally, capers have been used in Ayurveda practice to improve liver function as hepatic stimulants and protectors.  And since capers contain high amounts of Rutin, an extremely potent anti-oxidant bioflavonoid known for its anti-inflammatory properties, why not enjoy capers any time and all the time?

On a curried caper salad for me, please.

Curried Caper Tahini Dressing (inspired by Kathy Scott)

  • 1/3 cup, loosely packed ground sesame seeds (or tahini)
  • 1/4/ – 1/2 tbsp raw demerara sugar (or maple syrup, unpasteurized honey)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp curry powder (or ½ tsp cumin + ½ tsp coriander + dash of turmeric)
  • 2 tbsp organic pickled capers (small variety), crushed or whole to your preference
  • 1/2 Tbs dried parsley
  • Blend together ingredients or whisk by hand.  Pour on top of your favourite salad mix, and take your cap off to capers!

Question Of The Day: What is your favourite, unconventional ingredient to add to salads, pizzas, pastas… whatever?

Aletheia Zoe Chiang is a caper fiend who regularly devotes a tenth of her college student grocery budget to purchasing expensive condiments.  Like Meghan, Aletheia enjoys spreading love, and does so at the award-winning health food store Fiddleheads Health and Nutrition where she works, and on her (mostly) edible food blog, La Fille Naturelle.

13 responses to “Curried Caper Tahini Dressing”

  1. Aletheia says:

    YAAAY!! Thanks for the guest-post love, Meghan!! :-)

    I <3 capers.

  2. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

    I love capers too! I’m going to have to try this salad dressing out. Thanks Aletheia :D

  3. says:

    I have a bunch of capers in the fridge that need some loving, this salad will come in handy my caper fiend hehe. thanks lovie!!! <3

  4. Diane Bailey says:

    I ADORE capers, especially the really large ones you often find in mixed olive dishes. And thank you for this salad and accompanying photo! Going to try it out tonight.


  5. lequan@luvtoeat says:

    ALETHEIA! One of my favorite bloggers in the blogosphere talking about one of the favorite things I enjoy eating! How could I not drop by and make a comment!? You my friend, ROCK! First a beautiful post about the awesomeness that is a fig (it is apparent that you are much more eloquent with your vocab than me…teehee), then you create the yumminess that is Greenola, and now a post dedicated to these deliciously addicting little flower buds. I always learn something while reading your posts, so thank you for the continuous opportunities to learn. The only sad thing about capers is, I have to savor every caper because they’re so dang costly. Oh well, just shows you’re not paying for c(r)apers right? (sorry for my lameness). Another great post my dear friend, luved it!

    Meghan, your dressing and salad looks absolutely delicious. Even though I’m not a salad girl (mainly cause I’m such a lazy arse), your dressing may be that kick in the behind for me. Thank you for the recipe and for having such a great guest poster on your lovely blog. Hope you both have a wonderful rest of the week.

  6. Lauren says:

    So many things I never thought to know about capers!! ;) I’ve actually never even tried one…or, if I have, I didn’t realize it. The salad dressing looks really good and the health benefits sound awesome, so I might have to branch out of my comfort zone (I really don’t like the taste of olives) and try them.

  7. Lindsay at Kitchen Operas says:

    Thanks for including the Vision Board info in your green smoothie revised version — I made one this weekend because of your instructions, and I surprised myself with what came out! Thank you!!!

  8. Lauren says:

    I’ve only had capers a few times in my life, but I like them. I’m sure they would make for a great salad ingredient. I’ll have to try that some time!

  9. Jessie says:

    Thanks for having the wonderful Aletheia guest posting on your blog, Meghan! She’s one of my very FAVORITE bloggers and so now I get to stalk her even more hehe ;) You know, I’ve loved capers for a long time, but I never knew a thing about them … until now. For example, I never knew that capers were a fruit, or that the smaller ones are better, or even that they had antioxidant properties (and I’m a future RD!). Ah well, thanks for the wonderful enlightenment, Aletheia! :D Great post!!!

  10. fresh365 says:

    Love this! So interesting to combine tahini, capers & curry but I know it will be a hit!

  11. Kristen says:

    pineapple! especially on pizza :)

  12. Sara says:

    I have a hard time getting myself to find comfort in salads during the winter and am looking for something richer than the everyday salads I typically make. Just made this salad dressing tonight and… wow! I will have to make this in large batches because it is delicious. Just the right amount of savory, but also gives a ‘creamy’ taste that is satisfying when I’m looking for something a little ‘more’ from my salad. Great recipe. Will make often!

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