Monday, November 29, 2010

Day Two Ninety Three - Caper Marriage Mondays

Capers huh? I feel that they are an under utilized ingredient in American cuisine, traditionally found in the cuisine of the Mediterranean, featured in a dish or as an adornment. Lets distinguish between the two distinct types we are used to seeing on the plate: the caper bud, the smaller of the two, traditionally salted and pickled and found in sauces such as Italian puttanesca; or should the caper bud not be pickled, it will turn into a caper berry and you can find this on Greek meze plates typically. Both have a salty savory aromatic feel to them, however the caper berry is less in your face than its younger cousin the caper bud.

So why choose this salty Mediterranean morsel this week? I've chosen specifically to focus on the caper bud as I feel that the caper berry is utilized more frequently in American cuisine and is less daunting to the palate, so why not take on the big guns this week? I think that when utilized correctly with the right sort of accompaniments, it is delish and a lovely addition to a variety of different dishes.

What cheese might work with this salty mouthful?

Contestant Number # 1: Humboldt Fog - Young goat's milk cheese crafted by the cheese mavens out at Cypress Grove in California. This cheese has a classic bloomy rind with a cream line and an interior of fresh lactic tangy young goat's milk paste split in two by the center line of black vegetable ash. Clean, bright, citrus-y, and delish, it's hard to go wrong here...But will this young goat's milk cheese have what it takes to take on our caper bud this week?

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Contestant Number # 2 : Gorgonzola Dolce - Classic semi-sweet Italian blue cheese that has the characteristic blue piquant-ness but is more delicate and round on the palate than its spicy punchy Gorgonzola cousins. Made with pasteurized cow's milk aged for about three months, this cheese just melts in your mouth. Will it melt in the right ways to strike our caper bud's cords?

Contestant Number # 3: Beaufort - Our last and final contestant is made in some of the largest wheels of cheese produced worldwide. It is a raw Cow's milk cheese hailing from the French region of Haute Savoie and is easily recognizable by its sides that curve inward into the yellow-y cheese-y paste. Made in Alpine style, this is the king of its genre. The youngster version is mild, buttery, and sweet while the older, more mature Beaufort is stately, savory, nutty, butterscotchy, caramelly, and spectacularly fantastic. Will the king rule the day with our capers?

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