Piccata is a traditional Milanese preparation in which a pan sauce of butter, lemon juice, and capers is spooned over thin slices of sautéed veal. But that same trio of ingredients is also used in southern Italy as the basis of a sauce for white fish, especially those with a delicate texture. Serve with simple steamed vegetables.
Fish with Lemon & Caper Sauce
2 tsp. capers, preferably salt-packed
4 mahimahi or other firm white fish fillets, 6–8 oz (185–250 g) each
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2⁄3 cup (5 fl oz/160 ml) dry white wine
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Place the capers in a small bowl with cold water to cover and soak for 20 minutes. Drain, rinse well, and drain again. Pat dry on paper towels. Or, if using vinegar-packed capers, rinse under cold running water, drain, and pat dry.
Sprinkle the fish lightly with salt and pepper. In a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil.
Arrange the fillets in the pan and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and opaque throughout but still moist looking in the center when tested with a knife, 6–8 minutes total. Using a slotted spatula or spoon, transfer the fillets to a warmed platter.
Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice, raise the heat to medium-high, and boil until the sauce thickens slightly, 2–3 minutes. Stir in the parsley, capers, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour the warm sauce over the fish and serve at once. Serves 4.
Find more authentic regional recipes in our cookbook, Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking.