Saveur (January 2012)
One of the best things about cooking our way through magazines is that we're always learning something new. Whether it's an ingredient, a preparation or an actual dish, we're constantly finding out about new techniques or being confronted with dishes that we have long heard about but never tried.
Puttanesca is a perfect example. We've always heard about it, but if we'd been pressed to define it, the best we would have come up with is, "It's like an Italian...sauce...right?"
Well, puttanesca, we're sorry it's taken us so long to get to know you. Where have you been all our lives?
Packed with sharp, salty flavors, puttanesca is an excellent alternative to a more traditional tomato sauce. Anchovies, olives and capers give a briny contrast to sweet tomatoes.
We loved this dish for a couple reasons. For one, it's super easy and quick to prepare. We went from zero to the dinner table in under 20 minutes. For another, we like pairing this sauce with fish instead of pasta. Sure, it would taste great over spaghetti. But serving it with fish makes for a lighter, carb-free meal. (This time of year, we'll take all the help we can get.)
Speaking of fish, we did make a substitution. Although the fish counter at our neighborhood supermarket does sometimes have swordfish steaks, it didn't have any this time. So we used monkfish instead. Any meaty fish will do fine here.
Mostly, we loved this dish for the flavors. Bright and sharp and pungent, we couldn't get enough. Clay thought this dish was plenty good; Zach thought it was phenomenal.
So if you're not familiar with puttanesca, introduce yourself! You'll be glad you did.
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 swordfish steaks (about 6 oz. each and 1/2-inch thick), skin removed
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 anchovies in oil, finely chopped
3 cups whole peeled canned tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
3/4 cup large green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
3 tbsp. roughly chopped parsley
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat. Working in two batches, season swordfish with salt and pepper, and add to skillet; cook, flipping once, until brown outside and medium rare inside, about 3 minutes. Transfer fish to a plate and set aside. Return skillet to medium heat. Add garlic and anchovies; cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, olives, capers, and chile flakes; cook until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Return swordfish to skillet, and add parsley and lemon juice; cook until fish is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Divide swordfish among 6 serving plates and top with sauce.