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Eating for Life | Caperberries are the guest stars in grilled chicken dish

Look for these relatives of the caper at the supermarket olive bar.

The Kansas City Star

If you want to add a punch of flavor to dinner tonight, the answer could be as close as your supermarket’s self-serve olive bar.

The idea lets shoppers mix-and-match tasty orbs from tubs of shiny green, black and gray olives without the commitment of buying a whole jar that may languish in the back corner of the refrigerator.

Less-familiar things recently have been creeping into that mix, including the caperberry.

Caperberries actually look a lot like a type of olive. The greenish fruit is about the size of a grape with a stem. Cut it open and instead of a pit, the inside is starchy and seedy. Caperberries are typically brined like an olive but they have a less-intense, lemony flavor than tiny capers, although they come from the same plant.

Capers, an ingredient in tartar sauce, are the immature buds of the plant. Caperberries result if the buds are allowed to mature to fruit. Caperberries grow throughout the Mediterranean and you might have seen them on a typical Greek mezze platter. They also make an appearance in Italian and Spanish dishes.

Ayurvedic medical texts indicate caperberries are good for you, helping to relieve rheumatism and inflammation. But like any brined or pickled food, caperberries are high in sodium. To remove excess sodium, rinse caperberries before using as a garnish for The Star’s Grilled Chicken With Mediterranean Relish.

• Shopping tips: Caperberries are available at Whole Foods and World Market

Worried about sodium? Muir Glen offers a no-salt, fire-roasted tomato we purchased at Whole Foods.

• Storage tip: If you purchase a jar of caperberries instead of shopping off the olive bar, the open jar should be capped tightly and kept refrigerated for no more than 6 months.

Grilled Chicken With Mediterranean Relish

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced in half and then in thin slices

1 can (14.5 oz.) no-salt fire-roasted diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons pitted and sliced Kalamata olives, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons sun-dried-tomato stuffed green olives, rinsed and sliced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

8 caperberries, rinsed and drained

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown. Add tomatoes and olives; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until liquid has reduced and mixture is thick. Remove from heat and stir in thyme leaves. Set aside.

Preheat grill skillet or grill to medium-high heat. Spray chicken breasts with nonstick olive oil spray. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until chicken is done, meat is no longer pink inside and meat thermometer registers 165 degrees.

Place chicken on plates and divide relish evenly. Garnish each with 2 caperberries, stems crossing.

Per serving: 204 calories (26 percent from fat), 6 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 10 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein, 177 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, call 816-234-4347 or send email to

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