Please help me rescue an overly caper-ed pork shoulder ragu. I hewed closely to brief, but the 3 tablespoons of capers overwhelms the dish.

What can I do?! I am serving this in a few hours. Yes, I should have tested it in advance, but The New York Times has in my experience been so reliable. Also, FYI, I used less than the full 1/4 cup specified. Please, help.

Ingredients in this ragu: 3 to 3 ½ pounds boneless, skinless pork shoulder
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives
¼ cup drained capers
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup dry red wine
1 (15-ounce) can whole or crushed tomatoes, with their juices
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1 cup lightly packed chopped flat-leaf parsley
Grated Parmesan, for serving

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5 Comments

Emma L. October 29, 2019
Hi! As boulangere noted, you can adjust the pork itself to taste (adding a sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or even granulated sugar; adding fat like butter or olive oil; adding acid like lemon juice or more tomato). I also think what you serve on top and alongside can be helpful! You could plop something creamy on top (like burrata or yogurt) and serve something deliberately bland (like bread or unseasoned polenta) to go with.
 
Mrs B. October 30, 2019
Thank you, Emma.
 
boulangere October 29, 2019
1/4 cup of capers is closer to 4 tablespoons than three, but at either quantity, we're splitting hairs. Too much is too much. Especially with the Kalamatas. And the anchovies. I would suggest adding a couple of tablespoons of honey. It will melt in nicely. Give your sauce a taste, then add another tablespoon if you think it is needed. You can always add more, but you can't take it out. But I imagine you've figured that out.
 
Mrs B. October 30, 2019
boulangere, that worked! You are brilliant - and so generous in sharing your vast wealth of knowledge and experience-earned good sense. For that I am so grateful.

I added a touch extra lemon juice, and served with freshly grated "white gold" (local, extraordinary) parm-type cheese, over al dente, thickly cut fettuccini. The meal was altogether a success.
 
boulangere October 30, 2019
You are so kind, Mrs. B.! I am very glad that your lovely dinner was a success.
 
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