The Sauce: Fish Piccata Sauce – Lemon juice is used to deglaze the pan then butter and capers are added to finish the sauce. It’s an easy, bright sauce over white fish fillets.
‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’
Piccata tastes as fancy as it sounds
I live across the way from Cameron’s Seafood Market. I can walk there in 4 minutes so it’s easy to buy fresh fish and seafood right in my neighborhood. Since I want to cook and share more fish recipes, Cameron’s is becoming a good friend.
Piccata is a dish that hails from Italy. Originally made with veal, the sauce is made with pan juices, lemon, capers and parsley. Piccata is from an Italian word that means to prick or puncture. Maybe this is because the veal is pounded thin enough to cook quickly. Nowadays it’s made with chicken and fish as well. Fish fillets are thin enough that they require no pounding. This pan sauce is a blend of lively lemon, rich butter and little briny capers. It doesn’t overwhelm the delicate fish but gives it some sparkle.
This piccata dish is so simple but very elegant. It’s company-worthy and you can also serve it on a busy week night. You’re gonna cook the fish in mere minutes, then whisk the pan sauce sauce in a couple more and there you have it. It’s so easy but so delicious that you’ll think you’re in a fancy restaurant.
Recipe: Fish Piccata
Prep Time: 4 Minutes | Cook Time: 6 Minutes | Yield: 4 Servings | Level: Easy
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb white fish fillets, 4 pieces such as flounder, sole or tilapia
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 sliced
- 1 Tbsp capers, drained
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- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
Special Equipment – large skillet
2 Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour, shake off excess and place in hot skillet. Cook about 2 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the fillets. Remove to a platter.
3 Add the lemon juice, capers and butter whisking to combine and loosening the golden bits off the bottom of the pan. This takes about 1-2 minutes stirring until the butter is melted.
4 Pour over the fillets and garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon slices.
The process of using a liquid to loosen the golden bits on the pan is called deglazing.
Flounder, sole and tilapia are fairly thin fillets so they cook rather fast. This is an elegant dish for entertainment but easy enough to serve on a weeknight.
Garnish with parsley sprigs or chop and sprinkle over the sauced fish.
Serve with rice pilaf or steamed white rice.
- Exchange olive for vegetable oil.
Inspiration – Saucy Cuisine Kitchen
Cook with Sauces
Written by Helen Horton
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: April 17, 2013