That we can get into some very lofty discussions over here at Madfish Wharf on Rocky Neck? This morning Wendie Demuth and I were talking about cooking bluefish, after Adam Bolonsky said he was going bluefishing and would bring us one if he was successful. I said I had only cooked bluefish once, baked with mayonnaise and capons. Wendie said there was no such thing as a capon, except to describe a superhero after he has gotten dressed, and I must have meant capers, which is what I had meant. But in fact, capons are roosters that have been castrated to improve the quality of their flesh for food.
Caponization is the process of turning a rooster into a capon, and can be done by surgically removing the rooster’s testes, or may also be accomplished through the use of estrogen implants. With either method, the sex hormones normally present in roosters are no longer effective. Caponization must be done before the rooster matures, so that it develops without the influence of sex hormones. Capons, due to the lack of sex hormones, are not as aggressive as normal roosters. This makes capons easier to handle, and allows capons to be kept together since their reduced aggressiveness prevents them from fighting.
The lack of sex hormones results in meat that is less gamy in taste. Capon meat is also more moist, tender, and flavorful than that of a hen or rooster, which is due not only to the hormonal differences during the capon’s development but is also because capons are not as active as roosters, which makes their meat more tender and fatty. Superman is protecting this rooster from caponization.
Capers on the other hand are the unripened flower buds of Capparis spinosa, a prickly, perennial plant native to the Mediterranean and some parts of Asia. Their use dates back beyond 3000 B.C. where they are mentioned as a food in the Sumerian cuneiform Gilgamesh, an ancient retelling of a great flood and ark legend. The small, green herb buds lend a piquant sour and salty flavor to salads, dressings, sauces, vegetables and a variety of main dishes. They add a nice flavor to bluefish, and probably to capons too, and can be enjoyed by superheroes everywhere, with our without their capon, and whether or not they are trying to solve capers.