Loaded with olives, garlic, capers, tomatoes and anchovies, puttanesca is one of my favorite sauces.
It’s not weigh-you-down rich like carbonera. Nor retiring like delicate fresh tomato-basil. Instead, it’s decidedly in your face — with a forceful punch.
So why relegate it to just tossing with pasta? With summer barbecuing season upon us, why not dress up mundane grilled chicken with something more exciting? Yes, puttanesca!
For those following a paleo, gluten-free or no-carb diet, it’s a way to have your puttanesca — and eat it, too.
There’s no time like now to dig into this dish, too, what with June 1 marking National Olive Day.
Did you know that 99 percent of all olives grown in the United States come from California? California’s family-owned Lindsay knows all about olives, producing 36 billion olives annually or enough olives to go around the Earth 22.8 times.
Lindsay produces seven olive styles. I used the Naturals Italian Olive Medley, a mix of Kalamata, Manzanilla, and Queen olives with garlic and basil.
I also made this puttanesca a little thicker, so that it’s more like a relish. This isn’t grilled chicken you can pick up with your fingers — you’ll need a knife and fork — but the puttanesca could also easily be dolloped on a grilled boneless chicken breast sandwiched between two buns that you can pick up with your hands. Or drizzled over planks of grilled eggplant. Or grilled fish. Whatever you choose, don’t smother it in the sauce. With puttanesca, a little goes a long way. Best yet, the sauce can be served hot or at room temperature.
In honor of National Olive Day, Lindsay is hosting a contest on its Instagram page. Just follow and comment on the page to be entered to win one of three prize packages of olives, along with a $100 Visa gift card. Contest ends June 2. It’s the perfect way to get your olive groove on.
Grilled Chicken Puttanesca
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes or to taste
3 tablespoons Lindsay capers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup Lindsay Naturals Italian Olive Medley, drained and roughly chopped
1 (28-ounce can) whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained, and roughly chopped (see Note)
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of a mix of chopped fresh parsley, basil and oregano
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into about 8 pieces
Salt and pepper
To make puttanesca: Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes, stirring until garlic turns golden, about 5 minutes. Add capers, olives and tomatoes, stirring to combine. Simmer for another 2 minutes, adding fresh cracked pepper to taste. Stir in the fresh herbs, and turn off the heat.
To cook chicken: Start a fire in your gas or charcoal grill. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, going light on the salt, since the puttanesca is plenty briny tasting. When the temperature reaches about 375 degrees, place chicken pieces on an oiled grill, turning pieces once or twice, until cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove chicken pieces to a serving platter.
To serve: Spoon a little of the puttanesca over the chicken. Garnish with a few extra whole olives, if you like. Transfer the rest of the sauce to a small bowl to allow guests to help themselves to more, if they like.
Note: I drain the tomatoes to create a thicker, more relish-like sauce. You can save the tomato juice to make Bloody Mary’s, gazpacho, soup or any other dish.
From Carolyn Jung