A new spin on a weeknight favorite
Piccata sauce is a simple but powerful mix of lemon, capers, white wine and butter. This tangy, bold sauce is a great match (and foil) for salmon’s rich, full flavor.
When cooking salmon fillets, we like to buy a whole center-cut piece and cut it into individual portions ourselves. Doing this ensures that each fillet is similar in size, which means that they’ll cook at a similar rate.
Because fish is prone to sticking in the pan, we decided to pat the fillets dry and sear them in oil in a preheated nonstick skillet. We found that if we covered the pan, the steam gently cooked the fish without requiring a flip, keeping the fish from breaking apart. This method provided browning on only one side of the salmon, so we opted to use skinless salmon and served the fillets browned side up.
After cooking the fillets to 125 degrees (for medium-rare), we let them rest on a platter to ensure that they’d still be juicy when we dug in.
While the salmon was resting, we started the piccata sauce by sauteing some sliced garlic in the oil left behind in the pan. Then we added flour to help thicken the sauce, along with a good glug of white wine, water to temper the sharpness, a handful of punchy capers, and lemon zest and juice for energetic citrus flavor. We cooked the mixture down before whisking in butter, one piece at a time, off the heat to ensure a viscous pan sauce and then finished with a sprinkle of dill.
1 (2-pound) center-cut salmon fillet, about 1 1/2 inches thick
1 teaspoon table salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper, divided