Eliza Acton’s caper sauce


  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup capers (roughly chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (or to taste)


An alternative to mint sauce, this hot, piquant sauce made from capers or nasturtium pods is delicious served with fatty roast lamb. It's from Eliza Acton's Modern cookery for private families (London, 1855 edition).

CAPER SAUCE. Stir into the third of a pint of good melted butter from three to four dessertspoonsful of capers; add a little of the vinegar, and dish the sauce as soon as it boils. Keep it stirred after the berries [capers, not caperberries] are added : part of them may be minced and a little chili vinegar substituted for their own. Pickled nasturtiums make a very good sauce, and their flavour is sometimes preferred to that of the capers. For a large joint, increase the quantity of butter to half a pint. Melted butter, third of pint; capers, 3 to 4 dessertspoonful.


Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
Chop the capers, and stir them, along with the vinegar, into the melted butter.
Continue to stir until bubbles start to appear, then immediately remove from heat and serve.
Cook's note: This makes about a cup of sauce, so you may want to consider halving the recipe. Store-bought bottles of capers may be preserved in brine, not vinegar, or salted. If so, give them a rinse, pat dry, and I suggest you then warm them in the white wine vinegar you will use in the recipe to develop the caper flavour. Caperberries, which you buy with stems attached, are the larger seed pods of the caper bush and are not used for this recipe.

This recipe appeared in the post Kitchen capers on January 24, 2013.

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