Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Fish Piccata

The process of taking a cutlet of meat, coating it with a little flour, and cooking over high heat in a lot of butter is a pretty foolproof way to make dinner. The principles for a good result are a skillet with ample room to accommodate the meat and consistent, high heat, both of which ensure proper browning and protect against soggy results. The preparation is incredibly common with chicken and also with veal, as in this recipe I prepared last year.

What I love about this cooking style is its quickness and elegance, and also because after cooking I'm left with gorgeous pan drippings, sticky with browned flour, to make any number of sauces.

Piccata is probably most associated with chicken, but a while back I ended up at the blog Proud Italian Cook and found a post for Tilapia Piccata. I'd always wanted to try it with fish. At the market I ended up with two fillets of pike, but pretty much any white fish would suit. The recipe is a straightforward piccata preparation with the requisite lemon juice, capers, white wine, and parsley. You don't get quite the same meatiness as with chicken, but the buttery, briny flavors suit white fish wonderfully.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living for the year in Tartu, Estonia.

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