Although the caper bush most likely originated somewhere in the Mediterranean basin, and certainly is associated with Mediterranean cuisines, the bud of this bush's flower, known gastronomically as capers (alcaparras in Portuguese) is very popular in Brazil. Their sharp acidic bite is used to spark up sauces and dressings, and they are added whole to pizzas and salads. They are not grown in Brazil, so they are imported preserved in vinegar and/or salt just as they are elsewhere in the world. In this recipe from the Brazilian recipe swap website Culinária & Receitas, posted there by Silvia Martins, capers are used to flavor the sauce for a pot roast of maminha (see this post to learn more about maminha.) If you want to make this recipe in North America, just ask your butcher for a bottom round roast of the size indicated in the recipe.
RECIPE - Maminha with Caper Sauce (Maminha ao Molho de Alcaparras)
3 lb (1.5 kg) maminha, in one piece
1 Tbsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp. capers, drained
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp. Italian parsley, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. green onion, green part only, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
Mix the salt and garlic in a small bowl with the back of a wooden spoon, or use a mortar and pestle to create a paste. Spread the paste on the top of the piece of beef and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Place the beef in a roasting pan, cover it with a lid or with aluminum foil, and put it in a preheated 350F (175C) oven. Remove the cover and continue to cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the top is browned.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the capers and fry for one minute. Add the mustard, parsley, green onion and basil and stir to mix thoroughly. Turn off the heat, and slow add the creme fraiche or sour cream, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. When the creme is all added, test for temperature, and if necessarily return to heat briefly to heat the sauce through, but do not let it boil.
Remove the roast from the oven, place it on a carving board, and slice into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices, cutting across the grain of the meat. Arrange them decoratively on a serving platter, and drizzle the caper sauce over. Serve immediately.