……before they open to adorn the streets of our moshav with their beautiful delicate flowers. Wow! Here’s one that I photographed in the morning sun after an early run……
These flowers don’t last long and, alas, morph into the fruit, or caper berry, which grows to the size of a small to medium pickle, before drying out, bursting, and releasing the seeds of this Capparis spinosa.
The caper bush produces yet another local ingredient for our omelets – the bud. The plant is found throughout the Mediterranean region. It is not known, however, if it, indeed, originated in this part of the world. To me, it makes sense that it did, as the word for caper berry, abiyyonah, is even mentioned in the Bible. The root of this Hebrew word means desire. We read in Ecclesiastes, where reference is made to its aphrodisiac effect:
…the grasshopper loses its spring,
and the caper berry has no effect.
In ancient Greek times it was used as a carminative, so this omelet may even be a solution for your excess gas problem.
The plant has little growth requirements other than a semiarid environment, one characterized by scanty rainfall and scrubby vegetation. It has been used as a means of reducing erosion of sand dunes. Because of its being a rupicolous plant, it is known here for growing out of stone walls including the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. It is so hardy that it is almost impossible to eradicate. Pull it out if you can, try to chop it down and cut it up, but it comes back year after year. Please be careful about the pulling on it and about trying to pick to buds for harvest, as it has tiny, very sharp thorns at the base of each leaf and bud. I guess that’s why they call it tzalaf kotzini in Hebrew. Translated this means thorny sharpshooter.
So to paraphrase Robert Herrick, “Gather ye caper buds while ye may, Old Time Is still a-flying.” While we cannot pick them, bring them home, and immediately use them in our omelet, We can pick and pickle them now in order to replace last year’s pickled harvest seen here on the right.
Make your omelet in the usual manner. Once the wire whisked eggs are set in the frying pan, sprinkle some of the capers on one half of the egg. You can use more if you really love the caper taste or fewer if you don’t.
Then add the chunks of cheese, spreading them around over the capers. We used three different cheeses that we have used in other omelets (Tomme, Manchego, and Mozzarella). Finally, flip the other half of the egg over the half with the ingredients and it is ready to eat. We wish you fun picking, pickling, cooking, and eating this delicious omelet. B’Tayavon – Bon Apetit.