Monday, November 14, 2011

Fried Capers

I'm oddly in love with this dish. When I found the recipe I was intrigued, while making it was I was worried, while eating it I was rather smitten. The pasta first tastes garlicky and has a slight lemony after taste. Every few bites you would get a nice little pop from the red pepper. The fried lemon zest strips were not as scary as I thought but could be overpowering if you had too many in one forkful. And the capers, oh the capers. I had never done anything with capers and while I have had them in a few dishes, they have never stood out. I tried one right out of the jar and was unimpressed, hence some of my worry. I was also nervous about it being too lemony which it is not. The caper was just sort of plant-y but once it was fried! A nice little crisp burst of saltiness with the perfect balance of earthiness.
Downside: The tuna got a bit dry. Maybe I warmed it for a minute too long or didn't have enough oil. I did not use 1/4 cup olive oil because I was using a smaller pot (the general!) and when I started to heat up the full amount it spazzed out like a rabid raccoon on crack so I reduced the amount.
Fettuccine with Tuna, Lemon & Fried Capers
(adapted from Fine Cooking)
Kosher salt
1 lemon, scrubbed for zest and 2 tablespoons juice
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling (I used significantly less)
1/4 cup small (nonpareil) capers, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 12-oz. can or 2 6-oz. cans solid white tuna in water, drained well
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I doubled it)
3/4 lb. dried fettuccine (used vermicelli because we had it)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (omitted)
1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.
2.  Shave off the lemon zest, then slice into very thin strips. Juice the lemon to get 2 Tbs. juice.
3. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the capers and cook until they start to brown and get crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and cook until it starts to crisp and curl up, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the capers and lemon zest to a plate lined with a paper towel.
3. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the garlic to the remaining oil in the pan and cook, stirring, until it browns lightly but doesn’t burn, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tuna and red pepper flakes and cook until the tuna just heats through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine in the boiling salted water, stirring often, until it’s just tender. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
5. Return the sauté pan to medium heat. Add the drained pasta, 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, and the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Cook, tossing and stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes to blend the flavors. If the pasta isn’t tender, add the remaining cooking water and continue to cook and stir until done. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice.
6. Serve immediately, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with the capers, lemon strips, parsley, and a few grinds of black pepper.

1 comment:

  1. Well done brave Cricket!  When I read this recipe it reminded me of a similar one I've done which includes, dare I say it - anchovies! This recipe appears to have swapped them out for tuna instead.

    Hey take a look at and let me know if you try it.

    Go on - I dare you to!