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Roasted Asparagus with Bay Leaves and Crispy Capers

An intense dose of heat keeps the spears green and snappy. Fried capers add a startling accent. More startling still: Fry up some large caperberries, still on their stems.–Rozanne Gold

LC Can You Catch a Caper Berry? Note

A little more elusive than its diminutive cousin, the caper berry is sort of like a caper with a superhero cape. Whereas a caper is a tiny unripe bud on the caper bush, the caper berry is actually the plant’s fruit. It lacks the zingy wallop of a caper, though it boasts a more nuanced, caper-y taste and a far more elegant appearance, resembling an elongated green olive with a stem. Caper berries can be found in brine, whether in bottles or buckets, where capers and olives are sold. Capers and caper berries are not always interchangeable in recipes given the discrepancy in size and taste, although here, where they serve as an accent, you can happily swap one for the other.

Roasted Asparagus with Bay Leaves and Capers Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds asparagus, with spears of medium thickness, ends snapped off
  • 6 large fresh bay leaves (look for them in the little plastic containers along with the other packaged fresh herbs)
  • 1/4 cup large capers or caper berries in brine (or, in a pinch, substitute green olives)

Directions

  • 1. To roast the asparagus, preheat the oven to 450°F (232° C).
  • 2. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the asparagus and toss to coat. Spread the spears in a single layer, tuck the bay leaves underneath so they are only partly exposed, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, until the asparagus is lightly browned and just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large platter.
  • 3. While the asparagus is roasting, drain the capers or caper berries or olives and pat them dry. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet. Add the capers, caper berries, or olives and fry until crispish, about 1 minute. Pour the contents of the skillet, including the oil, over the roasted asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Remove and discard the bay leaves or, if you leave them for a pretty presentation, caution guests not to nibble them.
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