A classic piccata sauce is the ideal companion to sweet, lean, wild white fish
Wild Alaskan cod is one of the most versatile fish — and protein foods — in your freezer.
If you either don’t have or don’t care for cod, halibut or sole work equally well for this delightful dish.
Cod is quite lean, yet still quite moist, with a delightful, subtle sweetness. A 6-oz skinless portion of cod has only about 178 calories, but delivers about 478mg of omega-3s, which meets the 250-500 mg per day recommended by health authorities worldwide.
This recipe makes the most of cod’s versatility by layering flavors to produce a delightful dish that takes only 15-20 minutes — and very little prep — to make.
Piccata dishes are one type of scaloppini. This Italian term refers to dishes in which thin pieces of fish, chicken, or veal are dredged in flour — wheat-avoiders can use almond or chickpea flour — sautéed, and served with a reduction sauce.
In this case, the fish is dredged in flour, quickly sautéed, then the same pan is used to make a simple sauce from the fish drippings, plus lemon, white wine, capers, and butter.
The lightness of cod, halibut, and sole gives you a little leeway to make a slightly richer sauce — a match made in culinary heaven!
A few notes for the cook
If you prefer not to cook with wine you can substitute a little chicken or vegetable broth — but a dry white wine will produce the tastiest results.
If you’re avoiding wheat flour, you can instead use almond or chickpea flour, which are readily available in natural food stores and online. (Almond flour is fattier, hence more caloric, delivering about 85 calories per 1/8 cup versus 55 calories per 1/8 cup of all-purpose white wheat flour.)
Complementary accompaniments to the piccata include garlicky sautéed greens or zucchini, and risotto, rice, or pasta, preferably whole grain.
Cod, Halibut, or Sole Piccata
- 2 tablespoons (1/8 cup) all-purpose wheat flour (or almond flour)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 portions Alaskan Cod, Northwest Sole, or Alaskan Halibut, thawed
- 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon shallot or white onion, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
- Lemon wedges for garnish
- Place the flour on a shallow plate and season to taste with salt and pepper. Rinse the fish portions with cold water, pat dry, and lightly dredge each side in the flour.
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet (preferred) or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the fish portions and cook until browned lightly on both sides, and just cooked through (do NOT overcook). This will take about 4 minutes per side for cod and halibut, or about 2 minutes per side for sole. Remove fish from the skillet and set aside to rest.
- Add ½ tablespoon of the butter to the same pan to melt. Stir in the shallots (or onion) and cook until softened, about 1 minute.
- With the skillet still at medium-high, whisk the wine into the shallots, gently scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until reduced by half, 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice and capers and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and slowly whisk in the remaining butter in 3-4 small portions until an emulsified sauce is formed. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Top each portion of the fish with half of the sauce, garnish with minced Italian parsley and lemon wedges, and serve immediately.