Relish the end of summer with this terrific topping

Once again and all too suddenly, summer is about to bid adieu. We’ve got one more weekend before the calendar tells us that school is back in session and that leaves will start falling from trees. So let’s top off our last barbecues of the season with something a little special: a relish that’s a snap to make and lends a bright, vibrant, creamy flavor to hot dogs, hamburgers, fish and myriad other entrées.

The irony with this recipe is that it uses a couple of ingredients that often fly under the radar in our kitchen ventures. Alone they are good, tied together with a few other ingredients, they make something wonderful.

First up are capers. We featured these in our last recipe, Extraordinary Orzo, a warm pasta salad. Capers were our secret ingredient in that dish because the small, pickled green orbs add so much crunch and a nice saltiness. They do the same in this dish.

You’ll find capers bottled in your local supermarket, usually on the same aisle as pickles and olives. In nature, they come from a bush. It’s actually the bud of a plant, and is packaged in a brine solution that should be rinsed before eating. On the bottles, capers will commonly be labeled “non-pareil” or “nonpareille.” What the heck does that mean, you might wonder? It’s just a size thing. Specifically, it refers to capers up to 7 millimeters. These kind of capers are small and are considered the most prized.

The other stealth ingredient in this recipe is flat-leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley. It’s found in the produce section of the market and looks a lot like cilantro. Often the only way you’ll know the difference is by smell or taste. Parsley adds a vibrant, fresh flavor and also works great as a garnish by itself because of its beautiful, dark-green color.

Ready to tie these two ingredients together to make a relish that’s as memorable as the last barbecue of summer? Here’s how to do it.

Parsley and Caper Summer Relish

(Makes about 1.5 packed cups of relish)

  • 3 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 small white onions, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Music to make it by: It’s the end of summer; anything by the Beach Boys is appropriate

Step 1: This recipe is so easy it doesn’t even involve cooking. First chop the parsley with a knife as fine as possible and put it in a big bowl.

Step 2: Now chop the onions as fine as you can and add them to the bowl.

Step 3: Rinse the capers, finely chop them and put them in the bowl. Don’t forget to try one; they are delicious.

Step 4: Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl, add the mayo and stir it all together with a fork. You can also do all this with a food processor for a more creamy texture.

Step 5: Add a few grinds of black pepper, taste the mixture and feel free to adjust to please your palate with additional mayo, lemon juice, etc.

Congratulations: You’ve just made a fresh, vibrant relish that is way better than anything found in a jar. Use this stuff on hamburgers, hot dogs, fish or any other piece of meat. You’ll likely enjoy it so much that you’ll find yourself whipping it up all year long.

1 Comment »

  1. Eric said,

    September 3, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

    Looks fantastic! It was not on my Labor day menu, but is now!

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