The Surprising Ingredient You Need To Try Air Fried

It's no secret that air fryers have become an almost must-have appliance lately, with people flocking to them in order to get a healthier version of their favorite crispy side dishes, appetizers, and even entrees. You can attempt to air fry just about anything (and many air fryer enthusiasts certainly have), but there's one particular ingredient you likely haven't tried yet and definitely should — capers (via Lifehacker). That's right — those tiny, salty, briny orbs are likely not on your radar when it comes to the items you'd consider air frying, but adding the crispy, crunchy component to the salty capers creates these teeny, tiny powerhouses of flavor that add both texture and a dose of salt to your dish, taking any recipe to the next level.

As for the process, it couldn't be simpler. You just need to scoop out the capers from the brine they're stored in, dry them off a bit, and drizzle them with your preferred fat. Anything from olive oil to bacon fat is fine. The tiny ingredient will likely fall through the holes of a basket-type air fryer, so just toss them in the bottom of the basket and stick them in at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a mere 5 to 7 minutes. Then, in just moments, you'll get salty, crunchy capers to top or incorporate into any dish.

What if you don't have an air fryer?

If you haven't yet jumped on the air fryer train but still want to test out what fried capers would taste like, don't worry — you can fry them the old-fashioned way as well. Just as you would if preparing them for the air fryer, start by removing the capers from the brine and drying them (via The Kitchn). Then, rather than coating them with a slight sheen of oil or some other type of fat, you'll want to prep a pan with about an inch of your preferred neutral oil, such as canola oil or grapeseed oil. Get your oil to about 350 to 355 degrees Fahrenheit, and toss those capers in to sizzle in the heat — it should only take about three minutes, and you can tell it's working if the exterior puffs up a bit to form a crispy crust.

Note that if you're using this method, you want to ensure you don't add too many capers at once, as that can cool off your oil and bring the temperature too low (via Foodtasia). Also, this is a task that requires your full attention — the liquid content in capers means they'll likely splutter and spatter oil a bit, so you want to keep an eye on them. Once you have your crisp capers, whether air-fried or fried traditionally, you can sprinkle them atop a pasta dish, add them to a soup or salad, and much more.