Tuesday, October 08, 2013

NASTURTIUM 'CAPERS'


A UHG Spaghetti Puttanesca. So foraged, so simple, so delicious                                                                                   Zam
If you take a little stroll around Cape Town’s leafy neighborhoods during winter you are bound to come across pockets of rambling nasturtiums. Man, they are everywhere! When the dry summer comes along they seem to disappear, only to happily pop up again after the first winter rains. Luckily, if they are in a cool shady nook, they hang around all year.

Charlie + camera = show-off       Zam
A wonderful way to pass time         Zam
Nasturtiums not only keep pests off the edible goodies growing in your garden, but they are mighty fine edibles themselves. Pop a few in your sandwiches, toss them into a salad or a stir-fry, grind them into an amazing pesto, fashion a few ‘health grenades’ (http://theurbanhuntergatherer.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-evolution-of-health-grenade.html), make ‘capers’… the list is as long as your imagination can muster.

How can nasturtiums not brighten your day?                                                                                                                        Zam
With summer well on it’s way, the nasturtium flowers are turning to seed, so why ever not position yourself in a cheerful nasturtium patch and let the peppery smells and the warmth of the mild spring sun Zen you out, while you absent mindedly pick the seeds for your year’s supply of pickled ‘capers’.

Suburban foraged olives                 Zam
The flower turning to seed              Zam

















Of course they are not real capers: real capers are the buds from a caper bush and not nasturtiums seeds, but you can use these in your kitchen as you would their Mediterranean counterparts.

Wynandt (a chef to keep an eye on) and I grabbing some fennel         Zam
What a shot. Only a single caper ended up on the floor                          Zam
Here is a little Pasta ‘Puttanesca’ recipe I made from our very own West Coast anchovies (courtesy of Chef Stef), my suburban foraged olives, my friends Jeremy and Gus’s nasturtium capers and a little foraged fennel. The dish was delicious and had lashings of character.

The lads in kitchen                       Zam

What You Need (serves 5)

About 5 anchovies
1 can of whole, peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tbsp of nasturtium capers
1 clove garlic chopped
1 chili (optional)
1 modest handful of olives (pips removed)
1 handful chopped fennel to garnish (parsley or basil is great too)
1 generous glug of olive
1 packet of spaghetti 500g
1 generous sprinkle of parmigiano per portion



What To Do

Get a pot of water with plenty of salt on the go for the pasta. While you are waiting for it to boil, chop the garlic and get rid of the olive pips. When the water starts to boil, throw in the spaghetti. Chuck the anchovies into a large pan with a glug of the olive oil, fry gently while breaking up the anchovies with a spoon. Add the garlic and soften, now chuck in the tomatoes, olives and capers and bring to a gentle bubble, while stirring occasionally. When the pasta is ‘al dente’, drain, add to the pan of yumminess, scatter in the chopped fennel and give the whole lot a good mix. Serve with plenty of parmigiano.

I couldn't wait to get stuck in                             Zam
Finally a massive thanks to Wynandt for the his pesto, foraging company and inspiration and to Zam for his amazing pics. Zam you are such a dude, dude.

A gentle bubble will reduce, intensify and infuse                                  Zam
Wynandts' awesome nasturtium pesto                                                        Zam
Nasturtium capers ready for the pan                                                         Zam




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