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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Garlic and Capers

It’s tomato season and this flavorful, savory sauce can be paired with almost anything: wild-caught fish, pasture-raised chicken, grass-fed steak, portabella mushroom caps, whole grain pasta, or tofu cut into triangles. So serve it up with whatever you happen to have on the grill or stovetop.

Anchovies are an essential ingredient, so unless you don’t eat fish, be sure to include them, even if you think you don’t like them (you will be surprised). The anchovies contribute a savory flavor and healthy omega-3 fats DHA and EPA. The sauce won’t taste fishy and most people will never guess this secret ingredient. Because anchovies are small fish that live low on the food chain, they are less likely to be contaminated with heavy metals and other industrial pollutants than other larger fish.

1 tbsp olive oil, first cold pressing
1 tbsp organic butter or more olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped red onion or shallot
2 cloves garlic, or more to taste
2 oz anchovies in olive oil, drained
Freshly ground peppercorn to taste
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 to 2 tbsp capers, to taste
2 large vine-ripened, fresh-picked tomatoes
1 handful fresh parsley or basil leaves, roughly chopped

Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped red onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to brown. Add the garlic and stir. Cook until it becomes aromatic, about one minute more. Add the anchovies, peppercorn and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for a few more minutes, until the anchovies soften and you can break them up with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes and increase the heat to medium. Cook until the sauce starts to bubble, then reduce heat to low and simmer until it has reduced and thickened, about 15 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Spoon the sauce over grilled or sautéed fish, chicken, steak, portabella mushroom caps, whole grain pasta or tofu triangles. Garnish with parsley or basil.

Vegan Variation:
Replace the anchovies with sea salt to taste.

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