Photo by Joshua Curry.

Lemony Fish Piccata

Seasonal Recipe

Lemons are almost as ubiquitous in the kitchen as salt and pepper. They appear in both savory and sweet recipes—either as supporting notes or as stars of the dish. Although the height of local lemon season is winter, thankfully we can often find trees with lemons ripening all year long.

A classic Italian piccata dish is usually made with veal or chicken, but the bright flavors of the lemon and capers work equally well with fish. White wine and white wine vinegar always work well with this dish, but you can also branch out and try a different vinegar, such as persimmon, tomato or apple cider vinegar.

Makes 2 servings

2 fillets of a mild, white fish, such as local halibut or rock cod


Salt and pepper

1 large lemon or 2 small lemons

Olive oil

2 tablespoons of white wine or vinegar

Butter, about 3 tablespoons total

1 tablespoon capers, with a little bit of their brine

Parsley, chopped (optional garnish)

Dredge the fish fillets in a small amount of flour seasoned with salt and pepper on a plate. Zest and juice the lemon (you should have at least 1–2 tablespoons of lemon juice).

Heat a splash of olive oil and about 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the butter is foamy. Add the fish and cook for 2–3 minutes, turn and cook another 2–3 minutes, until lightly browned and opaque all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the lemon juice and white wine to deglaze the pan; if it evaporates right away add a little more wine. Scrape up any bits clinging to the pan. Add the capers and cook just until heated. Add about a tablespoon of butter along with the reserved lemon zest and stir until the sauce is smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add the fish to the pan for just a few seconds to warm it back up and serve with the sauce poured over the fish and garnished with a little parsley. 

Categories Main Dishes Recipes
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