Shrimp and Caper Salad

This image courtesy of Maren Caruso

Most people think of capers, or kappari, as exclusively Italian, but I’ve always thought their flavor was perfect in Greek foods. The briny, piquant flavor makes me think of a sun-drenched hill-side next to blue water, which for me means Skopelos. The Greeks have cooked with capers for millennia; historians note that Greeks brought capers to Gaul as early as 600 B.C. These days, if you stop in a Greek taverna, you’ll often find large capers set out in small bowls as mezes, appetizers. Try these with a sip of ouzo—flavors don’t get more intense than this.

In my kitchen I really like a final sprinkling of capers over roasted vegetables, especially red peppers, eggplant, and Brussels sprouts, and I’m a big fan of piccata sauce made with capers, lemon, fresh parsley, and butter. But I like capers best with seafood—both have the flavor of sun and sea—and I think combining shrimp and capers makes each one taste better.

One clove of garlic gives the shrimp a subtle flavor. If you like a heartier flavor, double the garlic in this recipe. I serve this as a first course, as a quick, light dinner, or as a leisurely weekend brunch. Add cherry tomatoes when they’re in season. Serve on a bed of young field greens if you like.




Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealbrunch, dinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecrisp, herby, salty, tangy

Type of Dishfirst course salad, main course salad, salad


  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails cut off
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 scallions, white and tender green parts, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 30 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley


  1. Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp and simmer until pink, about 5 minutes. Drain the shrimp and rinse quickly under cold water.

  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the garlic, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Add the hot shrimp to the garlic mixture and marinate for 10 minutes.

  3. In a large bowl, toss together the shrimp with the marinade, the scallions, red onion, capers, celery, and tomatoes.

  4. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the oregano, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and vinegar. Pour over the shrimp and vegetables, add the parsley, and toss to incorporate. Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve chilled.


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