Puttanesca refers to an Italian pasta sauce invented in the mid-20th century in Naples consisting of tomatoes, anchovies, olives, red pepper flakes, and other bold flavors typically served over spaghetti noodles. In this slight adaptation from “Good Catch” by Valentine Thomas, those ingredients are paired with mild fish fillets instead for a protein-forward variation that will work with any mild fish, fresh or frozen. Serves 4. – Susan Puckett
- 4 (6- to 8-ounce) white mild fish fillets (such as snapper or grouper)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (plus more, to taste)
- 1 (2-ounce) can anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, drained and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium shallot, sliced
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- ½ cup pitted and coarsely chopped kalamata olives
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano, basil, or parsley leaves (plus more for garnish)
- 1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pat the fish dry with paper towels.
- In a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovies, and shallot; cook and stir until the garlic is golden and the anchovies are almost completely dissolved, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the capers, olives, and wine and let everything simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and herbs and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened up a bit, gently breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon to pop them open as they cook. Taste for seasoning, and if you prefer more heat, add a few more shakes of red pepper flakes.
- Place the fish fillets in the skillet, spoon some of the tomato sauce in the pan over them, top with the lemon slices, and place the skillet in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets), until the fish is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and stir the butter and remaining olive oil into the sauce until the butter melts. Serve the fish fillets and sauce over rice and garnish with more herbs.
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.