Kapari Magirefti

Stewed Capers

“CLOSE YOUR EYES and add olive oil,” the old cooks from Sifnos used to say, writes Eleni Troullou in her book Delicacies from Sifnos. What she means is that this caper stew needs lots of olive oil.

Try to get good-quality large capers packed in salt for this recipe. Serve the stew on toasted country bread or in a bowl for people to dip their bread into. Or serve it as a sauce for any kind of pasta. On Santorini, a similar caper stew is used as topping for pureed yellow split peas.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup good-quality large capers, preferably salt-packed
  • ½ cup olive oil, or more to taste
  • 2 cups halved and thinly sliced onions
  • 1 cup sweet red wine, such as Mavrodaphne or sweet Marsala
  • ½ cup water
  • 2–3 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar (optional if using brine packed capers)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

If you are using salted capers, place them in a colander and rinse under lukewarm running water for about 4 minutes, or until they lose most of their saltiness. If using brine-packed capers, rinse them well, until most of their tartness is gone.

In a medium saucepan, heat ¼ cup of the oil and sauté the onions over medium heat until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the capers and the remaining ¼ cup oil and cook for 2 minutes, or until the capers start to sizzle. Pour in the wine and simmer for 1 minute. Add the water, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, or until the onions and capers are tender and most of the water has evaporated. Add vinegar and pepper to taste; you may not need to add vinegar if using capers packed in brine. Let cool completely before serving. The capers can be made up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated; bring to room temperature before serving.

Variation

Instead of the water, add cup grated ripe or diced canned tomatoes.

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