* 2 aubergines
* 4 tbsp olive oil
* 30g Grana Padano, roughly chopped or coarsely grated
* 2 tbsp capers, rinsed and dried
* Handful fresh mint leaves
Click here for the recipe.
Capers can today be found growing wild all over Mediterranean, and are frequently cultivated (e.g., in France, Spain, Italy and Algeria; furthermore, Iran, Cyprus and Greece produce significant amounts); their origin is, though, supposed in the dry areas of Western or Central Asia.
Caper and its relatives in several European tongues can be traced back to Classical Latin capparis “caper”. Latin capparis, in turn, was borrowed from Greek kapparis [κάππαρις], whose origin (as that of the plant) is unknown but probably West or Central Asia. Another theory links kapparis to the name of the island Cyprus (Kypros [Κύπρος]), where capers grow abundantly.
Names of capers in most European languages share a common origin and are indeed quite similar, for example, Italian cappero, French câpre, Estonian kappar, Swedish kapris, Czech kapara, Russian kapersy [каперсы] and Greek kappari [κάππαρη]. In English, the word appeared first as capers, which was, however, later interpreted as a plural, and the new singular caper was backformed.
Spanish tápana and related names of the Western Mediterranean also derive from Latin capparis, although I do not understand the details. Provençal tapeno lies behind the name tapenade for a famous French appetizer …
(Hat tip: Mary L. for pointing me to Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages.)