Sunday, May 11, 2008

Recipe: Carrots with Capers (Kαρότα με Kάπαρης)

When I want an easy, reliable, colorful vegetable side, I make Carrots with Capers adapted from Marcella Hazan's More Classic Italian Cooking. It goes particularly well with roast meat or chicken.

I’ve made it for 2 and I’ve made it for 100. Over the last 30 years, I’ve made this dish hundreds of times. It’s never been anything other than wonderful.

Marcella explains why: “The tart corrective of the capers is just what the carrots need to add a little zip to their otherwise passive sweetness. And their gentleness, in turn, tempers the tonic bite of the capers.”

I've changed Marcella's original recipe by upping the parsley, garlic, and capers. Because the garlic is cooked in water, its flavor in the finished dish is quite mild.

Try it. You won’t be sorry.

Carrots with Capers (Kαρότα με Kάπαρης)
Serves 4
Adapted from More Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan (Alfred A. Knopf 1978)
Adding the water a little at a time keeps the carrots from getting waterlogged; it's the same principle as adding broth to risotto in stages. The carrots may be cooked ahead, reheated, and the capers added at the last minute, but the carrots taste better if cooked right before serving. Since capers are salted, be careful not to oversalt at the beginning.

1 pound carrots
1/4 cup capers, preferably salt-cured
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 – 1 1/2 cups water

Wash the carrots, peel them, and cut off the tops and bottoms. Cut into lengths the size and width of a woman’s little finger.

If using salt-preserved capers, rinse off the salt and let them soak in cold water for 10 – 15 minutes, and rinse them again. If using brined capers, rinse off the brine. Dry the capers and reserve.

Sauté the carrots, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 cup water and cook until the water completely evaporates. Continue adding 1/4 cups of water and evaporating it until the carrots are done. This takes 10 – 20 minutes; cook until the carrots are tender but firm.

When the carrots are done, brown them lightly in the oil remaining in the pan after the water is gone. Stir in the capers and cook for 1 minute. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed. Serve immediately.
This is my entry for Antioxidant Rich Foods/Five-a-Day Tuesdays hosted by Sweetnicks.


Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

What a clever combination...the tartness of the capers counteracting against the sweetness of the carrots..I like this Laurie...another perfect creation.

Maria Verivaki said...

so glad you reminded me - capers are now in season, and need to be picked now before they burst into flower - they grow by the roadside here, and are easy to spot.

Peter M said...

Laurie, I must admit this combo does sound odd but if you've made it this over & over to enthused guests, then it's worth a try, no? It is definitely easy on the eye.

bee said...

i would love to try this, but hate the supermarket capers in brine. i will make this when i find good capers. your pic is lovely.

Anonymous said...

I often roast carrots with lemon juice exactly for that sweet-sour effect. I'll have to try your recipe with the capers; it sounds really good.

Cris said...

What a great recipe and I have everything in the fridge, it looks so good!

Anonymous said...

Laurie what a great idea. I eat carrots because they're good for you - but really I think they're a pretty boring vegetable. But this is a fab way of sparking them up. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - clicked "save" before I said who I was. How rude of me.

Cakelaw said...

These lovely bright carrots look delicious - I have never tried carrots with capers before, but I'm game to give it a try!

I have also given you an award here:

pam said...

How unusual! I've bookmarked it to try!

Laurie Constantino said...

Peter G, it is definitely my favorite way to eat carrots for exactly the reasons you say - I'm so glad you like it.

Maria, lucky you!

Peter M, it's so worth a try as it's easy and very delicious.

Bee - I'm with you, capers in brine aren't my favorite (although soaking them helps). Salt-cured capers sold locally are $10 for a few ounces; I recently bought a kilo at a Seattle wholesale/retail store for less than $16. Salt-cured capers taste entirely different than the brined ones.

Lulu - roasted carrots with lemon sounds great, I'll have to try it.

Cris, you better get to work!

Kathryn, I'm so glad you liked the recipe (and thanks for dropping by!)

Cakelaw - I don't know what to say - as always, you are way too kind. Thank you very much! (And be sure to try the carrots...)

Pam, if you make them, please let me know what you think!

Joanne said...

Interesting combination, carrots and capers and very pretty. I have to try this out!!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Intriguing. I'll definitely give these a try.

Laurie Constantino said...

Bijoux, I've never met anyone yet who doesn't like it!

Forkful, I'd be interested to see how they come out for you!

Maria Verivaki said...

i am defintely going to try this recipe out when we're next having roast meat, a great accompaniment as an alternative to potatoes

Anonymous said...


You had me make this recipe years ago for a fundraiser (Knowles, I think... house on Douglas highway by Breeze In). I've made it many times since then and adore it. During our kitchen remodel my recipes were scattered to the winds, so I went to the well and Googled "recipe carrots capers garlic" and your blog was the first hit!

Laurie Constantino said...

Maria, I hope you like it!

Ann, yes I remember that fundraiser very well. I know it was $250/plate for Knowles and you're right it was just over the bridge, but I can't remember whose house it was. It was in 1990, the year Knowles lost. That fundraiser was a lot of work! That's funny how you found the recipe again - I'm glad I'm not the only one who makes it over and over!