They are as big as South Sea Pearls, plump and juicy, the pickled bud — before it blossoms into the gorgeous white and purple spiny flower. On Salina in June I saw them everywhere, the caper bush flourishing in the dry, black volcanic soil of the Aeolian Islands. I was struck by their beauty and size, learning that they have many special powers, able to create appetite, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, fight toothaches, ignite libido, and even to magically transform into another fruit. After the bud flowers from the flower come the cucunci. Filled with the tiniest seeds, which give it texture, they are delicious too — some people even think they’re tastier than capers. (In the first picture above, the cucunci hangs next to the caper on the end of one of the flower’s purple tentacles.)
Halibut with capers
(Or any white fish — branzino (Italian seabass), orata (gilthead seabream)
Roast very simply at 400 for about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, with a little olive oil, big capers, cherry tomatoes cut in half, a sprinkle of salt. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon to spritz over the fish.
I would pair with a summer orzo and a light salad.