A caper is the bud of the caper bush. You will find them in jars with salt or preserved in vinegar – read our tips to make sure you use each type correctly, otherwise they can spoil the dish.
– Capers in vinegar are only used in salads where the vinegar forms part of the dressing. You may need to use more olive oil than usual in your dressing to balance out the vinegar in the capers. If you use capers in vinegar in a sauce, you can spoil it so this is the time to use rinsed salted capers.
– The capers packed in salt are usually a better class of caper: you need to wash them before using to remove as much salt as possible. They can be used in sauces, salads and chicken or fish dishes.
– Capers are lovely if you crisp them up by frying them in hot oil and sprinkle them over any grilled fish for texture.
– There is no need to chop capers – they are already small enough. The exception would be if you are chopping them finely for a dressing where you want to intensify the sauce.