Pan seared salmon piccata in a lemon caper sauce is a quick skillet meal perfect for weeknight dinners and good enough for company! You’ll love the tender fish fillets, tangy sauce, and easy cleanup.
Since you all love quick and easy pan seared fish as much as I do (my pan seared cod with lemon is one of my most popular recipes here!), I know you’re going to enjoy my latest recipe for salmon piccata.
It took me a little testing and tinkering to zero in on the flavors and textures this recipe needed while also keeping the fish tender and moist. But as soon as I tried this version, I knew! The salmon stays tender as you sear, the sauce has body but isn’t heavy, and the whole thing comes together in about 20 minutes.
Who can argue with that? Not me! 🙂
What do you need?
- Salmon fillets – I like ones which are about 1/2 inch thick or more. They stay juicier!
- Flour – Seasoned with some salt and pepper.
- Piccata Sauce – This is your white wine, lemon, capers, garlic, shallot, and parsley.
How to make this
To make salmon piccata, quickly pan sear salmon fillets in a hot skillet. Then make a pan sauce of garlic, shallots, white wine, stock, and lemon juice. Stir in capers and parsley and serve.
- Skin the salmon if needed then cut into serving sized pieces
- Dredge in flour (wheat flour or rice flour are both great choices)
- Sear in a hot skillet then remove to a plate
- Saute the garlic and shallots
- Add the wine and reduce
- Add the stock and cornstarch and thicken
- Add lemon, capers, and parsley
- Serve the salmon with the lemon caper sauce
And that’s all there is to it! I do have a few tips though:
Tips for Success
- Tip 1: Make sure you use a properly sharp knife when skinning the salmon. It’s super simple to slip the knife between the fish and skin so long as the knife is sharp.
- Tip 2: Get everything prepped before you begin cooking since it’s going to go fast!
- Tip 3: Get your pasta water simmering before searing. That way you can add the pasta to the water and have it ready when the salmon is done.
My favorite wines to have with salmon are full bodied white wines. I find that it pairs especially well with a well oaked chardonnay. These are the really big and buttery chardonnays. Other great choices are a French White Burgundy or an Italian Trebbiano.
If you try my recipe for Salmon Piccata with a Lemon Caper Sauce, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Salmon Piccata with Lemon and Capers
- 1 1/4 lb salmon fillets
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup stock, either chicken or fish, low or no sodium
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp capers
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- lemon slices
- If your salmon fillets are skin on, carefully run a knife between the skin and salmon flesh and remove the skin.
- Once your salmon is skinless, cut it into 4-5 serving size pieces.
- Sprinkle the pieces with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Put the flour in a bowl and dredge the salmon in the flour until evenly coated.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high until shimmering.
- Add the salmon and sear for 3-4 minutes per side, or until it reaches 125F in temperature. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.
- Add the butter to the skillet and swirl until it melts. Then, add the garlic and shallots and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce for 1 minute.
- Stir together the stock and cornstarch to make a slurry. Pour the slurry into the skillet and bring to a boil while whisking.
- Add the lemon juice and let the sauce boil and thicken for 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently.
- Taste the sauce and add kosher salt and black pepper as needed. Then stir in the capers and parsley.
- Return the salmon to the skillet and spoon the sauce over. Scatter lemon slices around the skillet. Serve over pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or any other base of your choice.
- Skinning Salmon: Here's a good series of photos showing how it's done.
- Prepping: This recipe goes fast once you start cooking. Get everything prepped before you heat the oil. Also, if you are serving the piccata with pasta, have your water boiling and start cooking the pasta while the salmon sears. I like pearl couscous with the salmon so I get that into the pot about the same time I start searing the fish.
- Gluten-free: Instead of using wheat flour, switch to rice flour. The rice flour makes a great, crispy coating on the salmon.