Did you know that there are more than 27,000 varieties of fish of which approximately 12 are sold in American Supermarkets? And at any given time, at least four of those will probably be salmon!
You can break the fish down into two basic categories: flat fish (like flounder, sole and halibut) and round fish (think salmon and tuna)
Within the categories of shape, you can further break the fish down into flavor. Lean white fish have a delicate flavor and “oily” fish have a richer, more distinct, taste.
That’s all you really need to know to get started cooking fish. And one of the easiest ways to prepare fish is to pan cook it and serve it with a sauce.
You may be familar with chicken piccata, a popular Italian dish. The sauce is a warm lemony vinaigrette finished with capers and herbs. It’s easy to make and it also complements fish. I recently made this dish with Mahi Mahi, a round, lean white fish. But it doesn’t have to be Mahi Mahi. It will work for most white fish and even with salmon.
This cooks quickly so have all your ingredients ready.
Seasoned fish goes in a hot, oiled pan, skin side down and cooks until the skin is crispy and the fish is opaque at least halfway up the sides. About 4 minutes on medium-high heat.
Flip it and cook on the other side a further four minutes or to 137 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Then remove the fish from the pan (turning it skin side down) and keep it warm while you make the sauce.
Pour off any burned oil and heat the lemon juice, lemon slices and butter until the butter starts to foam up. Add the garlic and give it a quick cook for a minute before stirring in the capers and parsley.
Return the fish to the pan and spoon the sauce over it.
It’s that easy!
MAHI MAHI IN PICCATA SAUCE
- 2 Mahi Mahi fillets
- Zest of one lemon
- Salt and pepper
- ½ lemon sliced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 small cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp capers drained
- 1 tbsp parsley
- Have all of your ingredients prepped and ready before you start to cook. Slice the lemon thinly, mince the garlic, measure the butter, capers and chop the parsley.
- Pat the Mahi Mahi dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the tops with lemon zest.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet to shimmering over medium-high heat. Place the mahi mahi in the pan, skin side down and cook without turning for four minutes. The skin should be golden brown and crispy on the bottom and the sides of the fish should be opaque (white) about halfway up. Adjust the heat as need to prevent burning.
- Turn the fish over in the pan and continue to cook until it is opaque throughout with an internal temperature of about 135-140 degrees.
- Remove the fish from the pan and keep warm while preparing the sauce.
- Pour off any remaining oil in the pan along with any burned bits. Turn the flame down to medium. Add the lemon juice, lemon slices and butter. Once the butter has started to bubble, stir in the minced garlic and let cook for a minute to soften. Add the parsley and capers.
- Return the fish to the pan, skin-side down, and spoon some of the sauce over it.
- Serve as is or over rice.
Notes: This recipe can be doubled.
This recipe can be prepared using other fish. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.
I used cilantro instead of parsley.